Western Union pilots mobile remittance systems in the Philippines

Western Union pilots mobile remittance systems in the Philippines

Money transfer operator Western Union is teaming with two telcos in the Philippines - Globe Telecom and Smart Communications - to develop and pilot mobile international remittance services.

The news services - which are part of a pilot programme from Western Union and the international trade group of mobile phone operators GSMA - will enable people overseas to send remittances to recipients in the Philippines.

Western Union cites research prepared by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas that suggests 44% of households in the Philippines have a relative working abroad.

Commenting on the initiative Ferdinand Dela Cruz, head, consumer wireless business group, Globe Telecom, says: "This relationship with Western Union will increase the accessibility and lower the cost of micro-remittances, which will greatly benefit Filipino overseas workers and their families."

Dela Cruz says the agreement will see Globe Telecom's SMS text-based GCASH service - which includes an electronic wallet feature that lets users send and receive cash and make payments - to a global network of send and receive locations through Western Union."

Meanwhile, Smart already has an established mobile financial service platform linking local bank accounts to mobile handsets. The telco says over seven million of its 30 million subscribers use its Smart Money system, with nearly two million of these cardholders.

Commenting on the Western Union alliance, Napoleon Nazareno, Smart president and CEO, says: "This agreement is in line with Smart's thrust to continuously develop convenient mobile remittance channels and communications services for overseas Filipino workers."

Western Union has already partnered Indian telco Bharti Airtel on a similar mobile remittance system as part of its agreement with the GSMA.

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