Western Union mobile in Uganda

The Western Union Company and MTN Group have announced the launch of a mobile money transfer service in Uganda, allowing MTN customers to send and receive money across borders using just their mobile phones for the first time.

The service, announced in Kampala today, marks the debut of an offering from Western Union that allows the more than 2 million customers of MTN’s mobile money transfer service, Mobile Money, in Uganda to add funds to their accounts that were sent through Western Union’s system.

Senders send the funds as they normally would – either in-person at 450,000 Western Union Agent locations in 200 countries and territories, from www.westernunion.com in 22 countries or directly from a bank account in select countries. The receiver of the funds simply chooses to “pull” the transaction into a MTN Mobile Money account.

The new service also enables MTN customers to send money internationally with Western Union directly from their Mobile Money accounts for cash payout at Western Union Agent locations worldwide or to subscribers of select mobile phone companies with which Western Union has agreements.

Western Union and MTN also announced that they will provide 9,000 branded mobile “Yellow Phones” to Ugandans. Customers who receive these phones must already have an active MTN Mobile Money account or sign up for one in order to use the new remittance service. The phones will be given away via ongoing promotions throughout Uganda over the next few months.

“Western Union is changing quickly and we are leading the way in bringing international remittances to mobile subscribers around the globe,” said Diane Scott, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer and President, Western Union Ventures. “Our network of nearly half a million locations, our experience in moving money across borders, and our relationships with the world’s most successful mobile operators such as MTN, ideally position us to introduce many people to cross-border financial services.

“Our mobile money transfer service will unlock new economic opportunities for thousands of underserved consumers in Uganda, whose financial needs are not being met elsewhere,” Scott added. “By deploying these powerful tools for sending and receiving funds – particularly in areas lacking financial infrastructure – Western Union and MTN are helping to create more self-sufficient local economies.” 

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