Western Union participating in financial inclusion with its prepaid card
By Ankit Sharma
May 31, 2013
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Western Union, a global payment services player is aiming aggressively at the domestic market by participating in financial inclusion with its prepaid card, which was launched in October last year.

"Almost half of India doesn't have a bank account and people have started looking for alternative methods. The Business Correspondent (BC) construct also has not been used properly. We would want to bring Western Union here as we could be linked through the bank as a BC by aiding financial inclusion and also make money," said Mr. Kiran Shetty, Managing Director of Western Union India.

"The intent is always there. Also, there aren't many opportunities for people in rural areas. They trust banks but there aren't enough branches," Mr. Shetty said.

Western Union wants to capitalize on this gap by relying mainly on its brand and distribution.

However, Competitors such as India Post, pricing will be crucial. With withdrawal charges of Rs 25 from a non-ICICI Bank ATM, Rs 100 for a new card issuance and re-issuance for a lost card, among others, might limit customers, especially the poor, to accept this change.

Western Union had entered into the domestic prepaid card market in association with largest private sector lenderICICI Bank, under the MasterCard network. The card helps load a maximum amount of Rs 50,000 onto the card and make payments across the country.


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