Monday, March 19, 2012

UOB Launches Western Union Remittance Service...

UOB has finally launched the Western Union remittance services in March. This is the first of three third-party global remittance services that UOB will be launching during the first half of 2012. The others are Money Gram and RIA. Western Union, Money Gram and RIA are the world's three largest remittance service providers in that order and UOB will be the only institution that will provide all three services in Rwanda. These third-party money transfer services are not the best affordable solutions for the poor, but they are the most prevailing services many people cannot afford not to use because they do not have access to formal financial services.

In addition to these third-party remittance services that may be made available to non-UOB clients, UOB is also providing global wire transfer services for its clients at lower costs. Through SWIFT, UOB clients can send and receive money to and from anywhere in the world. UOB is proud to be a low cost provider of this service.

Moreover, UOB is in the process of developing an affordable mobile banking service. It went through an alpha testing with UOB staff last year and is going through a live beta testing with 160 or so clients. This service, combined with an agent network that is under development, should provide affordable means of domestic remittances in Rwanda.

Remittance is an important part of holistic micro finance. This service is taken for granted in developed countries, but in many developing countries, remittance is still a foreign concept. Many choose to send their money to their parents or children through bus companies or their friends who travel to the areas where their parents or children live. It is unsafe and slow.

 I look forward to the successful launch of these affordable services, thus benefiting the underprivileged people of Rwanda. - Jeffrey

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