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Vodafone and Citigroup launch money-transfer service
Posted: 12-Feb-2007 [Source: Vodafone]

[Vodafone and Citigroup announce plans to embark on an international money transfer service via mobile phones.]

The product being developed will allow the remitter and the beneficiary to choose from a range of options as to how the money is sent and received. The sender can initiate the transfer using either a mobile phone or a secure Internet website to give instructions on where to send the funds. The funds will be able to be received in a bank or through the receiver's mobile phone in the form of a voucher and secure PIN that will enable the receiver to redeem the cash at a wide range of outlets, typically the airtime distribution points operated by the in-country mobile network service provider. For these latter services, the beneficiary of funds does not need to have a bank account, will have a wide range of locations to collect the funds and only has to be in the possession of a mobile phone that can receive an SMS on any mobile network.

Enabling money to be transferred internationally from person to person using mobile technology is set to greatly assist the flow of funds from migrant workers back to their families. Migrant remittance is an important source of income in many developing countries - indeed the United Nations estimates that it involves some 191 million migrants and the World Bank estimates it has a total annual worldwide value of USD268 billion. For some individual recipient countries remittances can be as high as a third of GDP.

Vodafone customers in the United Kingdom will have the first opportunity to use the service to send money to Kenya on a trial basis and both parties plan to launch commercially, with a focus on Eastern European and Asian markets, such as Poland and India, in the near future.

This initiative couples Vodafone's global reach, brand recognition and operational mobile money transfer service with Citigroup's worldwide network, unrivalled international payments capabilities and existing global remittance solution. It builds upon Vodafone's recent successful pilot of the M-PESA mobile money transfer service by its affiliate in Kenya, Safaricom.

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