Western Union Launches Solution to Deliver Financial Inclusion to Millions in India
New prepaid card will be first in market to offer card-to-card transfers, remote top-up
MUMBAI, India--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Western Union (NYSE: WU), a leader in global payment services, ICICI Bank and MasterCard (MA) have joined forces to launch the Western Union® ICICI Bank Prepaid Card in India.
The card offers millions of underbanked Indians many who carry cash 24/7 a safe way to store and access their money anytime along with new options for saving and spending.
In addition, the card will be the first in the market to allow the cardholder to load funds on the cards of family members and loved ones or to transfer funds card-to-card across the nation. This feature, which Western Union expects to introduce next year, has the power to financially include millions in a country experiencing an explosion in rural-to-urban migration.
Western Unions vision is to promote financial inclusion in India with ICICI Bank and MasterCard, said Mike Hafer, Senior Vice President, Global Prepaid, Western Union. The new card will give Indians benefits similar to those offered by mainstream banked cards without the restrictions of maintaining an average daily balance limit or being denied for creditworthiness.
The Western Union ICICI Bank Prepaid Card has the potential to elevate Indians into the financial mainstream in a nation where, according to the World Bank, usage of bank accounts by people 15 and older is 35 percent; just 8 percent receive their wages into a bank account; and 4 percent use an account for business.
Indians can add funds to their cards via direct deposit from payroll or government payments, by loading their own cash at select Western Union Agent locations or with a money transfer.
ICICI Bank is pleased to be associated with Western Union and MasterCard, said Mr. Kusal Roy, Head, Cards, Personal Loans and ATMs, ICICI Bank Limited. This card will provide the choice, convenience and safety of a card solution to a large customer base, which is underbanked and traditionally deals in cash. This is in line with the banks strategy to extend electronic payment solutions across customer segments and provide a seamless transaction experience to its customers.
The power of prepaid to underbanked millions around the world is invaluable, as it brings them into the financial mainstream, said T.V. Seshadri, Division President, South Asia, MasterCard. MasterCard is well-positioned to leverage this market opportunity and also grow the market for prepaid cards in India, thereby driving financial inclusion. By joining hands with Western Union and ICICI Bank, we are pleased to offer a game-changer to millions in the form of a prepaid card that is convenient, safe and provides practical ways to draw cash and spend.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of June 30, 2012, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of approximately 510,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In 2011, The Western Union Company completed 226 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $81 billion of principal between consumers, and 425 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.
About ICICI Bank
ICICI Bank is India's second-largest bank, with total assets of Rs. 4,736.47 billion (US$ 93 billion) at March 31, 2012 and profit after tax Rs. 64.65 billion (US$ 1,271 million) for the year ended March 31, 2012. The Bank has a network of 2,773 branches and 9,363 ATMs in India, and has a presence in 19 countries, including India.
ICICI Bank offers a wide range of banking products and financial services to corporate and retail customers through a variety of delivery channels and through its specialised subsidiaries in the areas of investment banking, life and non-life insurance, venture capital and asset management.
The Bank currently has subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Russia and Canada, branches in United States, Singapore, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Qatar and Dubai International Finance Centre and representative offices in United Arab Emirates, China, South Africa, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Our UK subsidiary has established branches in Belgium and Germany.
ICICI Bank's equity shares are listed in India on Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India Limited and its American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a global payments and technology company. It operates the worlds fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCards products and solutions make everyday commerce activities such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.
Kristin Kelly, 720-332-4751
Source: Western UnionCopyright Business Wire 2012