Western Union targets India's underbanked with pre-paid card

Western Union targets India's underbanked with pre-paid card

Western Union, ICICI Bank and MasterCard have joined forces on a pre-paid card which lets users transfer funds across India.

According to the World Bank, only 35% of Indians over 15 use bank accounts. Western Union says that its card offers the millions of underbanked a safe way to store and access their money anytime, along with new options for saving and spending.

In a first, customers can load funds on to the cards of family members and transfer money card-to-card across the nation, a feature the partners predict will help achieve financial inclusion in a country experiencing an explosion in rural-to-urban migration.

Users can add funds to their cards via direct deposit from payroll or government payments, by loading their own cash at Western Union agents or with a money transfer.

Mike Hafer, SVP, global pre-paid, Western Union, says: "The new card will give Indians benefits similar to those offered by mainstream banked cards without the restrictions of maintaining an average daily balance limit or being denied for creditworthiness."

Kusal Roy, head, cards, personal loans and ATMs, ICICI, adds: "This card will provide the choice, convenience and safety of a card solution to a large customer base, which is underbanked and traditionally deals in cash."

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