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Western Union rolls out 20th mobile money transfer program

Western Union is continually offering its mobile money transfer service to new regions in the world, evidenced by the company’s recent expansion to Nepal.

To create the mobile wallet, Western Union partnered with eSewa, a digital wallet platform in Nepal, and Nabil Bank Limited. The more than 200,000 eSewa subscribers will now be able to receive a Western Union Money Transfer transaction on their mobile phones or online.

“Nepal represents the continued expansion to build our mobile capabilities around the world,” said Andrew Silver, manager of corporate communications at Western Union, Englewood, CO.

“This is our 20th deployment in 18 countries,” he said. “Western union is implementing a multiproduct, multichannel expansions strategy. That means complementing our retail network with continued expansion of mobile and online services.

Nepal’s market
Western Union currently offers retail services in 5,600 locations in Nepal.

According to Nabil Bank, remittances are an important factor of economic stability in Nepal.

The World Bank showed that Nepal had more than $4.2 billion in migrant remittance inflows during 2011, representing 22 percent of Nepal’s gross domestic product. It estimates that remittance inflows to Nepal grew to more than $4.9 billion in 2012.

The new Western Union offering will cater to this developing market and offer more choice and convenience to Nepalese consumers, enabling them to transfer money on the go.

The platform is similar to Western Union’s offerings in other markets. It lets consumers send money to more than 200 countries by dialing 1-800-CALL-CASH (1-800-225-5227).

Consumers can then make a payment using a debit or credit card.

The service also lets consumers pay bills via mobile by dialing 1-800-634-3422.

Through the eSewa platform, consumers will also be able to complete Western Union money transfers via the mobile application.

Mobile wallets
Western Union recently launched its mobile wallet in Nigeria, as a part of the global expansion (see story).

Mobile wallets are becoming more popular, as more financial organizations and retailers roll out new services.

For example, MasterCard recently launched a mobile wallet in Japan (see story).

Harris Teeter is also piloting its own mobile wallet that would allow consumers to pay for groceries via mobile (see story).

Western Union is trying to provide a simple mobile service to numerous regions around the world.

“This [Nepal wallet] is consistent with our offerings in other markets,” Mr. Silver said.

“We continue to leverage our experience and the knowledge that we gain through our various appointments throughout the world to launch in new markets,” he said.

“The idea would be being able to offer consumers the international service, ie. money movement around the world, whether it’s online, retail or mobile.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York