Airtel partners with Western Union for real-time global payments


New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS): Telecom major Bharti Airtel on Wednesday entered into a partnership with global money transfer company Western Union to launch real-time payments into bank accounts in India and mobile wallets across Africa.

"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," Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel, said in a statement.

"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," he added.

As a result of the partnership, Airtel Payments Bank customers in India will soon be able to direct Western Union money transfer into their bank accounts 24/7, via their app, the two companies said.

This announcement follows the conclusion of new flagship collaborations of Western Union with two leading subsidiaries of Bharti Airtel, namely Airtel Payments Bank and Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services with a presence in 14 countries in Africa.

The collaboration with Airtel Africa will enable more than 15 million Airtel Money mobile wallet users in Nigeria, Uganda, Gabon, Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 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.

The service launch is expected in the course of 2020, the two companies said.

"The future of money transfer is about customer choice - allowing them to move money whenever, however and wherever they want," said Western Union President and CEO, Hikmet Ersek, speaking from the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Davos, Switzerland.

"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," Ersek said.

  

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