Azimo and MasterCard-controlled outfit HomeSend have teamed up to enable users throughout Europe to send money to loved ones in Africa and Asia through their mobile phones.
Under the deal, Azimo customers in 20 European countries can send funds to mobile money accounts in Armenia, Burkina Faso, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippines and Somaliland.
A joint venture between MasterCard, eServGlobal and Bics, HomeSend acts as a global remittance hub, bridging the gap between banks, telcos and others. The partnership with London-based startup Azimo means people will be able to send money directly - and in real-time - to recipients' mobile money accounts linked to their phone numbers, rather than via over-the-counter agents or directly to bank accounts.
Stephen Doyle, CEO, HomeSend, says: "We've seen an increased desire for people to be able to safely send funds via mobile money accounts. This form of money transfer has gained particular popularity due to its convenience, security, competitive pricing and near-instant delivery times."
According to the World Bank, the global remittance market is set to be worth $586 billion this year, providing a huge opportunity for tech firms looking to muscle in on traditional players such as Western Union. Earlier this month PayPal agreed a $890 million acquisition of fast-growing money transfer startup Xoom.