The Western Union Company announced that it has joined forces with
Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART), a leading wireless services provider
in the Philippines, to jointly develop and pilot a Mobile Money Transfer
The service, which is being developed as part of the GSM Association’s
Mobile Money Transfer strategic initiative, aims to make low-principal,
high-frequency remittances available to the country’s more than 8
million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).1
SMART, which ended 2007 with more than 30 million subscribers, already
has an established mobile financial service platform linking local bank
accounts to mobile handsets, providing significant convenience for
banked consumers. At the end of 2007, more than 7 million SMART
subscribers were in the Smart Money system, close to 2 million of whom
are cardholders. The company has agreements with five Philippine
commercial banks and links to over 7,000 ATMs nationwide, more than 100
Smart Wireless Centers and thousands of third-party Smart Money
“This agreement is in line with SMART’s thrust to continuously develop
convenient mobile remittance channels and communications services for
overseas Filipino workers,” said Napoleon Nazareno, SMART president and
CEO. “We recognize the significant role they play in not only
contributing to the country’s economy, but also in making sure their
families’ financial and communications needs are met at the time they
Western Union, together with its affiliates Orlandi Valuta and Vigo,
maintains the industry’s largest global money transfer Agent network
with more than 320,000 locations in over 200 countries and territories.
“More than 44 percent of households in the Philippines have a relative
or family member working abroad,2 and the mobile phone plays a
tremendous role in keeping families connected,” said Matt Dill, General
Manager, Western Union Mobile. “We believe there is a real opportunity
to extend the reach of Western Union’s brand and service proposition to
a new and more mobile consumer base.”
The number of immigrants globally is about 200 million -ÂÂ approximately 3
percent of the world’s population.2 According to recent World Bank data,
the Philippines is the fourth-largest receiver of remittances in the
world and received an estimated $17 billion USD in 2007.
Once the Western UnionÃÂ® mobile money transfer pilot has launched, the
service will connect operators to Western Union’s existing global money
transfer system. Once connected to the Western Union service, operators
will be able to use their own “mobile wallet” software to enable
person-to-person mobile money transfers over Western Union’s
cross-border remittance network. The Mobile Money Transfer service will
enable consumers to transfer money to or from mobile wallets and will
offer a global network of Western Union Agent locations for
cash-to-mobile and mobile-to-cash transactions.
Mobile networks now cover more than 80 percent of the world’s
population, and 3 billion people have a mobile phone,3 creating an
opportunity to extend the benefits of financial services to many of the
world’s families for the first time.
The agreement with SMART is part of the pilot program of Western Union
and the GSM Association, a global trade association representing over
700 GSM mobile phone operators, to facilitate the development of
cross-border mobile money transfer services.
About The Western Union Company
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global
money-transfer services. Together with its affiliates, Orlandi Valuta
and Vigo, Western Union provides consumers with fast, reliable and
convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, as well as
send payments and purchase money orders. It operates through a network
of more than 320,000 Agent locations in over 200 countries and
territories. Famous for its pioneering telegraph services, the original
Western Union dates back to 1851.
About Smart Communications
Smart Communications, Inc. is the Philippines’ leading wireless services
provider with over 30 million subscribers on its GSM network as of
December 2007. Of its total subscriber base, over 20 million subscribers
are served under the brands Smart Buddy, Smart Gold and Smart Infinity.
In addition, over 9 million subscribers are served through its
subsidiary, Pilipino Telephone Corp., under the brand Talk ‘N Text.
SMART has built a reputation for innovation, having introduced
world-first wireless data services, including mobile commerce services
such as Smart Money, Smart Load and Smart Padala. SMART also offers a 3G
service, Smart 3G. SMART’s subsidiary, Smart Broadband, Inc. offers the
revolutionary high-speed wireless broadband Internet service, Smart Bro.
SMART is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Philippines’ leading
telecommunications carrier, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone