Airtel in pact with Western Union to launch real-time mobile money

Western Union has tied up with Bharti Airtel to launch real-time payments soon into millions of Airtel Payments Bank accounts in India and Mobile Wallets across 14 countries in Africa.
Airtel business customersWestern Union’s partnership 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 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.

“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.

“Collaborating with Western Union on these two flagship initiatives in both India and Africa reflects Bharti Airtel’s commitment to transform the quality of lives of millions of people across emerging and developing markets,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman, Bharti Airtel.

There were 395.7 million registered mobile money accounts in Sub-Saharan Africa region, representing nearly half of total global mobile money accounts. More than 130 live mobile money services, and network of more than 1.4 million active agents are available in Sub-Saharan Africa.