Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Western Union And GSMA To Create New Global Mobile Money Transfer Service

18th October 2007: New York: The GSM Association (GSMA), a global trade association representing over 700 GSM mobile phone operators, and The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU), a global leader in money-transfer services, today announced an agreement to facilitate the development of cross-border mobile money transfer services.

Western Union and the GSMA are developing a commercial and technical framework that mobile operators can use to deploy services that enable consumers to send and receive low-denomination, high frequency money transfers using their mobile phones. The first commercial services that make use of the framework are anticipated to be rolled out beginning in the second quarter of 2008.

The framework forms a key element of both Western Union's mobile strategy and the GSMA's Mobile Money Transfer program which aims to use the reach and ease of mobile money transfer services to expand the mobile financial services market and stimulate social and economic development. Mobile money transfer services will make it simple, quick and affordable for more people to send small amounts of money through a conventional and regulated system. Both Western Union and the GSMA believe there is an opportunity to create and grow a large new market for low denomination transfers.


  1. Eko India Financial Services Private Limited (www.eko.co.in) - startup company based in Delhi, India is looking to extend banking facilities in these untapped/un-banked areas through the use of mobile phone as a channel (currently there are over 200 million mobile phone subscribers (GSM & CDMA). Eko is looking to ensure greater financial inclusion and increase the outreach of the banking sector as envisaged by RBI – the Indian Federal Bank through the use of Business Correspondent Model.

    Eko’s unified approach to financial services will address two key challenges - ubiquity and comprehensiveness of range of financial services. Often financial services with the focus for financial inclusion have resulted in high transaction & servicing costs, inadequate collection & use of customer information, and a focus on credit based services leading to the exclusion of more needed services including Savings.

    We are integrating an infrastructure for widespread distribution of “No Frills Savings Account” (NFSA). Eko Cash Points (ECP) are retails points who have existing “Prepaid Recharge” business. 24x7 pharmacies will be ECPs providing 24 hr services. Eko Relationship Officers (ERO) are individuals who have full KYC (Know Your Customer) compliance and minimum 1 year of “good” banking record. Such individual would be “introducers” to customers who have limited or no KYC. This is a mandatory requirement defined by RBI regulations for customers with limited KYC to open “No Frills Savings Account”. ECPs and EROs are not working full time for Eko. It is an added source of revenue for them. This model has been inspired by various “agent models” deployed across the globe. Every customer is registered with a particular ERO while they can transact at any ECP.

    Eko issues Signature Booklets (files for patent) to every account holder. The Signature Booklet is used to secure the transactions and ensures more than ATM like security for the transactions. Eko also issues a comic for easy communication to the customers.

    Eventually, multiple value added services would be offered to the members, including more credit and savings product apart from transactional services.

    Eko has initiated a pilot on 17th December in partnership with Centurion Bank of Punjab at Uttam Nagar, in west Delhi.

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