New scheme to transfer funds by mobile phone

Migrant workers in Malaysia will soon be able to transfer funds back home by mobile phone following the launch of a new scheme by Citi and DiGi Telecommunications.
Migrant workers in Malaysia will soon be able to remit money back home using their mobile phones.

DiGi Telecommunications (ôDiGiö) and CitigroupÆs Global Transaction Services have teamed up to launch MalaysiaÆs first remittance service using the mobile phone.

The new service targets the local remittance market particularly the growing migrant communities. The new service will add a new dimension to traditional methods of money remittance, with an easy to use, convenient, secure and safe channel, Citi said in a press statement yesterday.

Citigroup and DiGi say they are confident this advanced method of person-to-person transfer of money using mobile technology will significantly assist the flow of funds from migrant workers back to their families.

Malaysia is a major source of migrant income in ASEAN with an estimated total migrant remittance of more than M$5 billion yearly, according to Citi.

It is estimated that less than half of remittances are flowing through formal channels, exposing migrant workers to unsatisfactory and relatively costly services for these critical transactions.

ôThe partnership we announce today promises to revolutionise the person-to-person money transfer industry,ö Sanjeev Nanavati, country head of Citigroup corporate and investment banking in Malaysia, said at the official exchange of Memorandum of Understanding between the two companies at Menara Citibank yesterday.

The partnership involves Citibank Berhad appointing DiGi as its mobile remittance agent in Malaysia, offering payment services through Citigroup's proprietary networks.

DiGi customers are set to be the first in Malaysia to use their mobile phones to initiate the transfer of funds to selected ASEAN countries when the service is launched in mid 2007. Citigroup and DiGi will offer transfers of local currency in the respective markets.

The service allows DiGi customers to transfer funds to one or multiple beneficiaries through a convenient and secure channel anywhere, anytime via a mobile phone, Citi said in its statement.

DiGi customers will be able to register for the service at any of the designated DiGi centers and outlets nationwide. Customers need only use their mobile phone to initiate the transfer, and nominated beneficiaries will receive the funds in their designated bank accounts or at Citigroup appointed agents in the selected countries.

ôThe mobile phone is becoming more than just a phone and the opportunity to value is limitless. Aside from serving as a tool for the migrant communities to remain connected with friends and family at home, mobile remittance makes the mobile even more relevant in their daily lives,ö said Morten Lundal, DiGiÆs chief executive officer.
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