Bharti Airtel has partnered Western Union to launch real-time payments services for millions of Airtel Payments Bank accounts in India and mobile wallets across 14 countries in Africa.
As per the World Bank, Western Union’s collaboration with Airtel Payments Bank in India will offer another channel for real-time cross-border money movement into India, the world’s largest remittance-receiving country. Airtel Payments Bank customers can soon direct a Western Union money transfer into their bank accounts 24/7 via their app in real-time. Global senders can use Western Union’s digital services in 75 countries plus territories, or the walk-in Agent network across more than 200 countries and territories.
The collaboration with Airtel Africa will enable more than 15 million Airtel Money mobile wallet users in Nigeria, Uganda, Gabon, Tanzania, Zambia, DRC, Malawi, Madagascar, Kenya, Congo, Niger, Tchad, Rwanda and Seychelles to simply route any money transfer received from across the world into their wallets. It will also allow senders around the world to push funds directly to an Airtel Money mobile wallet in real-time and store value or pay for goods and services. Service launch is expected in the course of 2020.
Commenting on the development, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel, said, “Collaborating with Western Union on these two flagship initiatives in both India and Africa reflects Bharti Airtel’s keen commitment to transform the quality of lives of millions of people across emerging and developing markets, providing connectivity and digital empowerment. We are delighted to contribute to the development of a sound and inclusive payments ecosystem in emerging markets to spur financial inclusion and economic growth.”
Further, Western Union President and CEO, Hikmet Ersek , said, “The future of money transfer is about customer choice – allowing them to move money whenever, however, and wherever they want. Our platform cuts through the complexities of cross-border money movement and payments so millions of customers can access their funds in real-time and in a manner that suits their local infrastructure and preferences. Our platform offers multiple channel choice for our customers and the customers of our partners including Banks, FIs, Telecom and Fintech players. We applaud Airtel for their global vision of anticipating and leading change in the global digital landscape.
Meanwhile, Anubrata Biswas, MD & CEO, Airtel Payments Bank, added, “We are delighted to collaborate with Western Union to add inbound global remittances to our portfolio of digitally enabled financial services. Our technology platforms and deep distribution reach allows customers to access a range of financial services in a convenient fashion. We will continue to bring to market innovative solutions that simplify basic financial services and empower every Indian.”
Further, addressing the development, Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, said, “We are very excited to partner with Western Union to offer Airtel Money customers better access to one of the world’s largest money transfer organisations. International remittances into Africa are a lifeline to some of our customers. This partnership will give our customers the convenience and security of directly receiving and sending remittances from their Airtel mobile money wallets. They will now be automatically credited and debited via their Airtel mobile money wallets on their phone and can immediately access the funds to pay bills or merchants and transfer funds to family and friends or convert to cash from the widespread Airtel Money agents, kiosks and branches.”