Western Union, a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement and payments, and Bharti Airtel Limited, a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 18 countries across Asia and Africa, today announced an unprecedented milestone in global money movement across the world’s significant emerging markets. The two industry leaders have come together to launch real-time payments soon into millions of Airtel Payments Bank accounts in India and Mobile Wallets across 14 countries in Africa.
This key milestone follows the conclusion of new flagship collaborations with two leading subsidiaries of India’s largest integrated telecom – Bharti Airtel, namely Airtel Payments Bank, India’s first payments bank with millions of customers and over 500K banking points across the country and Airtel Africa plc Africa (LSE: AAF; NSE: AIRTELAFRI) (“Airtel Africa” or “Group”), a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services with a presence in 14 countries in Africa.
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, according to the World Bank. 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.
“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,” said Western Union President and CEO, Hikmet Ersek, speaking from the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Davos, Switzerland.
“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,” Ersek said.
At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Davos, Switzerland, Hikmet Ersek will join Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Airtel, along with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor as part of a panel “Leading a New Multilateralism”, which focuses on how emerging markets – including India and Africa – are changing the nature of multilateralism.