Safaricom (NSE: SCOM), Kenya’s leading mobile network operator and provider of M-PESA, a leading mobile wallet, and the Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a leader in cross-border and cross-currency money movement, have joined forces again—this time to unlock global money transfers for more than 28 million mobile wallet holders, by leveraging the Western Union® global money movement platform.
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In a global first, Western Union will power Safaricom to scale money transfers to more than 200 countries and territories. M-PESA Global, a newly optimized feature will allow customers to send money from their wallet for pay-out across the Western Union retail Agent network or directly via Western Union’s access to billions of accounts.
M-PESA’s mobile wallet has revolutionized financial inclusion over a decade by enabling millions of Kenyans to receive money from abroad, store and send money or make payments locally, and leapfrog traditional infrastructure. M-PESA wallet holders already have the option to receive money from around the world via Western Union.
“Western Union’s global money transfer engine is powering Safaricom’s electronic M-PESA wallet to send and receive money globally, while customers can choose our multi-channel network to pay-out across the world. It is a unique integration of our platforms to scale global connectivity and we commend Safaricom for breaking new boundaries,” said Odilon Almeida, President, Western Union Global Money Transfer.
“We believe this breakthrough collaboration with Safaricom will spur a world of new possibilities for mobile financial service operators to directly scale globally and provide customers with choice to send or receive money to and from more than 200 countries and territories. It will become a model for opening a world of global connectivity and economic opportunity for emerging as well as developed economies,” said Almeida.
Safaricom has helped millions of Kenyans establish financial services on mobile wallets within Kenya. More than 1.7 billion transactions are processed over M-PESA annually, equivalent to more than 50 percent of Kenya’s GDP value.
“By opening up M-PESA to the world, we aim to enable a world of opportunity for Kenyans by making it easy and seamless for them to connect with the world,” said Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Chief Financial Services Officer at Safaricom.
“With M-PESA Global, Safaricom customers enjoy the benefits of a globally connected world at the touch of the button, whenever and wherever they want to. The world is at their fingertips, whether they are sending money to a loved one overseas or receiving money from abroad.
“M-PESA Global reflects the evolution of customer needs in Kenya and Safaricom’s ability to anticipate and meet these needs – from facilitating inbound money transfers, domestic transfers across wallets, to now offering outbound, cross-border money transfers by connecting to the Western Union money transfer ecosystem,” said Lopokoiyit.
Western Union sees traditional remittance receiving countries as an opportunity to become remittance sending countries, including: China, Philippines, Mexico, Kenya. It reflects rising affluence and globalization of the native population as well as an increase in international workers and their associated need to send money abroad for a host of reasons, including education, travel and other personal expenses.
Kenya, a net remittance receiver at USD $2 billion, last year saw a 13 percent year-over-year rise in 2017, according to the World Bank. During the same period, outbound remittances topped USD $36 million, tracking similar growth rates, at 13 percent.
Customers in Kenya can access the new service by dialing *840# or by selecting “M-PESA Global” under the M-PESA menu on mySafaricomApp.
About Western Union’s Cross-Border Platform
Western Union’s cross-border, cross-currency money movement platform – including a robust digital footprint, settlement, treasury and compliance infrastructure, a vast global retail network of over half a million locations, and the ability to send money to billions of accounts and mobile wallets – sets the standard for international money movement. With operations in more than 200 countries and territories, Western Union’s platform processed an average of 32 transactions every second and moved $300 billion in principal across 130 currencies in 2017.
Connecting the digital and physical worlds of money, Western Union’s technology stack, APIs, foreign exchange and settlement engine, agent network, anti-money laundering and fraud detection capabilities make it one of the largest digital and physical money movers for consumers around the globe. The company offers digital transactions in more than 50 countries and territories. Approximately 70% of Western Union’s digital transactions globally now originate on mobile devices.
For more information, visit the Western Union newsroom.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement. Our omnichannel platform connects the digital and physical worlds and makes it possible for consumers and businesses to send and receive money and make payments with speed, ease, and reliability. With our global reach, Western Union moves money for better, connecting family, friends and businesses to enable financial inclusion and support economic growth. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.
Safaricom transforms lives. We provide voice, data, financial services and enterprise solutions for a range of customers, small businesses and government, using a variety of platforms. We delight over 29.9 million customers, providing over 200,000 touch points for our customers and offering over 100 different products under our portfolio. Listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange and with annual revenues in excess of KES 200 Billion, Safaricom invested KES 38 billion in infrastructure this year, providing over 91% of Kenya’s population with 4G and 3G coverage and providing 2G coverage to 96% of Kenyans. Safaricom has harnessed its proprietary fiber infrastructure to build a dedicated enterprise business, which provides managed I.T. services to clients in the East African region.
Safaricom pioneered commercial mobile money transfer globally through M-PESA, the most successful service of its kind anywhere in the world. Launched in March 2007, M-PESA now has over 21 million active customers and over 162,800 M-PESA Agent outlets countrywide.
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