Barcelona, Spain: The GSM Association, which represents many of the world’s wireless companies, said that it has launched a pilot program with MasterCard that will let international migrant workers send money back home faster by using the extensive reach of mobile networks.
Led by a group of 19 mobile operators — including India’s Bharti Airtel — with networks in more than 100 countries and accounting for more than 600 million subscribers, the GSMA said it believed the program could help double the number of migrant workers by doubling the recipients of international remittances.
Both GSMA and MasterCard said using cellular networks could expand the value of remittances to more than US$1 trillion(Rs44,000 crore) by 2012.
“We believe that this coming together of the mobile and banking industry is a giant leap in mobile commerce,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and managing director of Bharti Airtel. “It will revolutionize the money transfer industry with its advantages, such as reach, ease of use, and lower transaction costs ,and provide immense benefits to people in developing nations such as India.”
The system works by having mobile operators partner with banks at the local or regional level. GSMA is establishing a pilot program with MasterCard worldwide to provide international authorization, clearing and settlements.
“This pilot provides a unique opportunity to use our global payments products and platform to help open up new business opportunities in developing countries,” said Roy Dunbar, president of MasterCard’s global technology and operations. “We look forward to working with local markets and partners to bring much-needed payment and money transfer alternatives to the vast community of underbanked —as well as all consumers — wishing to transfer money internationally.”
The GSMA and MasterCard, which has a 25,000 member-bank network, plan to pilot a global hub that will link together national markets and the local payment systems run by mobile operators in partnership with those local banks.
That hub will allow migrant workers to trigger international money transfers using their mobile phone and their families to be notified via their mobile phone.
“The creation of a global hub will enable the mobile networks, which now cover more than 80 percent of the world’s population, to offer the world’s burgeoning migrant population a convenient way to securely and cost-effectively transfer money to their families back in their home countries.” said Rob Conway, chief executive of the GSMA.