JOHANNESBURG - MTN Group and Western Union, a global payment services on Wednesday, announced a commercial agreement to introduce international mobile firm remittance services in the 21 countries where MTN operates.
A statement released by the MTN Group in South Africa, said that once introduced, the service will allow MTN subscribers to conveniently send and receive Western Union Money Transfer transactions using their MTN MobileMoney accounts.
The service will first be introduced in Uganda, where MTN’s MobileMoney service already boasts of over 1 million registered users, making it one of the most successful mobile wallet deployments in the world. According to the World Bank, Uganda receives nearly $500 million in remittances every year, making up 3 percent of the country’s GDP.
The statement said that once the new international remittance service is activated, MTN subscribers registered for MobileMoney will be able to receive Western Union Money Transfer transactions in their mobile accounts.
“In addition, MobileMoney users in certain countries will be able to send Western Union Money Transfer transactions directly from their mobile phones for payout at one of Western Union’s 386,000 Agent locations in 200 countries and territories around the world,” the statement says.
An MTN subscriber who receives a Western Union Money Transfer transaction in his MobileMoney account will be able to use the funds to pay bills, top-up airtime, send money domestically and internationally, or withdraw cash at MobileMoney Agents or any participating ATM.
“The Western Union Mobile Money Transfer service is a key part of our multi-channel strategy to offer our consumers numerous ways to send and receive money,” said Khalid Fellahi, the Head of Mobile Transaction Services at Western Union.
“This alliance with MTN -- one of the world’s most successful mobile operators -- will introduce cross-border remittances to an entirely new segment of customers by allowing them to send and receive money using just their mobile phones,” added.
Pieter Verkade, MTN Executive of MobileMoney, said, “After bringing domestic financial services to many of our customers, we will now enable customers to receive money from abroad on their mobile phones to take out at their convenience with their local merchant, send it to family or pay a bill.”
MTN’s MobileMoney service is currently available in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda, with pilots underway in several other markets.
The service offers consumers a convenient, secure and affordable way to send money within the same country (domestically), buy airtime and make basic utility payments using their MTN mobile phones. MTN offers the service in partnership with local banks.
Western Union offers the Mobile Money Transfer service in the Philippines with Smart Communications and Globe Telecom; in Kenya with Safaricom; and in Malaysia with Maxis.
The company also recently announced an agreement with EnStream in Canada and State Bank of India in India and has other agreements for Mobile Money Transfer with banks in Tunisia, Libya and South Africa.