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EastNets, BICS unveil new mobile remittance platform

EastNets, a global provider of compliance and payment services, has launched a new mobile remittance platform hosted by Swift.

EastNets’ new mobile remittance platform en.MoRe lets consumers use their mobile phone to complete a money transfer in a way that is designed to be easier and more convenient than traditional remittance methods. With en.MoRe, financial institutions and wireless carriers have a new platform to tap into the growing mobile remittances market by acquiring new customers who want to use this service.

“We see a gap in the market,” said Alison Holland, group marketing and communications director at EastNets, Boston. “There are a lot of point-to-point solutions in this space but we don’t see anyone coming up with a true many-to-many solution.

“It is a hard nut to crack, which is why nobody else has done it,” he said. “However, we find ourselves with the right skills and the right solutions and the right partners to make it happen.”

EastNets has more than 1,000 customers in 120 countries and delivers a full range of SAA payment architecture consulting, implementation services, training and maintenance to help clients protect, manage and improve their Swift environment.  

BICS, a joint venture of Belgacom, Swisscom and MTN, specializes in the international voice and mobile data markets. 

Mobile remittance heats up
EastNets is partnering with BICS, a global provider of voice, messaging, roaming, connectivity and mobile financial services, to connect this new mobile remittance solution to BICS’s HomeSend platform.

With this partnership, BICS essentially brings a mobile hub together with a bank hub to create a platform that lets HomeSend customers transfer money from their electronic wallet to a bank, where it can be collected as cash.

EastNets and BICS have plans to expand the market coverage of en.MoRe starting with a many-to-many network between carriers in 10 sending countries and banks in 15 receiving countries in the coming months.

The service will be offered in key markets such as Pakistan, India, the Philippines and the Middle East.

With this service, EastNets will help carriers and banks to target the estimated 200 million migrant workers worldwide who send money to friends and families on a regular basis.

En.MoRe is a technology platform and payment scheme to enable banks and carriers to interoperate globally. It lets carriers to connect to a single hub that is already linked via Swift to more than 8,000 banks worldwide.

En.MoRe will leverage the SafeWatch platforms to meet anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, regulatory requirements for counter terrorism financing (CTF), and know-your-customer (KYC) controls in compliance with international cross border money transfer. 

EastNets is currently in the process of obtaining certification for the SwiftReady Workers’ Remittance Label with its en.MoRe platform.

EastNets can also offer electronic wallet services that comply with anti-money laundering regulations to simplify implementation.

The HomeSend platform, on the other hand, is a global hub service that lets any carrier worldwide to have access to the international remittance market.

Powered by eServGlobal and operated by BICS, it enables cross-border person-to-person money transfers, airtime exchange and roaming recharge.

With en.More, a subscriber can send low-value payments—say, a few hundred dollars—to a recipient anywhere in the world.

The initial market is simply a means for an overseas worker to send some money home to their family. However, en.More can be used for any form of low-value payment.

For example, it could be used for an online purchase of goods or services as an alternative to credit card.

Can’t banks and carriers just get along?
There is a turf war between the banks and the wireless carriers. The banks feel strongly that money transfer is their business and that the carriers should stick to phone calls.

On the other hand, the carriers recall that Western Union was a Telco, so maybe they are just reclaiming the turf that they somehow lost along the way.

These diverging opinions make it very difficult for the industry bodies to reach an agreement and come up with any sort of a reasonable solution.

The banks build bank-centric platforms and the carriers build carrier-centric platforms.

“EastNets has come up with a scheme to bridge the gap and deliver a practical solution that is acceptable to all parties,” Ms. Holland said. “Our rollout strategy is to deploy along the path of least resistance.

“We therefore start with carriers in developed countries that have money and aspiration to play in the payment space,” she said. “We start with banks in the less-developed countries where they are still hungry for new customers and see the value of receiving payments from abroad in an easily digestible format.

“Once we gain momentum then we can open the solution to the banks in the developed countries but that will take some time for them to adjust.”

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily