Western Union partners with Go-Jek's Philippine fintech startup

April 08, 2019 16:17
Manila-based fintech startup Coins.ph integrates Western Union into its app to allow Filipinos to receive money sent to them from overseas. Photo: Coins.ph

Philippine e-wallet provider Coins.ph announced a collaboration with global remittance giant Western Union to enable Filipinos to receive international and domestic money transfers directly from the latter's global digital network.

Recently acquired by fast-growing ride-hailing unicorn Go-Jek, the Manila-based fintech startup said it will integrate Western Union into its e-wallet app to allow users in the Philippines to receive money sent to them from overseas directly.

Together with Moneygram, New York-listed Western Union has long been a dominant player in cross-border, cross-currency money transfers, which traditionally rely on large physical networks of local agents ranging from banks to convenience stores and pawnshops. Its digital network spans more than 60 countries while its retail network covers over 200 countries and territories.

“There are many overseas Filipino workers who send money back home regularly and are always looking for additional remittance options,” said Coins.ph co-founder and chief executive Ron Hose in the press statement. “By pairing Coins.ph’s payments technology with Western Union’s expansive global network, we are giving Filipinos a seamless choice to receive money digitally, on the go.”

Molly Shea, senior vice president and general manager of Western Union's Global Money Transfer for the Asia Pacific, said in the statement: "With this collaboration with Coins.ph, we are delighted to offer customers in the Philippines with an unmatched depth of services and capabilities, and convenience right at their fingertips."

According to a World Bank study, the Philippines is one of the world's top remittance-receiving countries. As announced by the Philippines’ central bank, there are an estimated 10 million Filipinos working or residing overseas, who remitted US$16.6 billion through banks in the first seven months of 2018.

Coins.ph was founded by Ron Hose and Runar Petursson in 2014, with an aim to deliver financial services over mobile to people in Southeast Asia who are unserved by traditional banks. It said it has over five million Coins.ph wallet holders in the Philippines, processing thousands of transactions per day, including remittances, bills payment, mobile top-ups, and other services provided by third-party covered financial institutions.

It started out offering crypto exchange services, allowing users to purchase digital currency through its app, and expanded to a broader focus on fintech. Regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Coins.ph said it is the only blockchain-based company in Asia to hold both Virtual Currency and Electronic Money Issuer licenses from a central bank.

The fintech startup said the integration of its blockchain-enabled platform with Western Union’s cross-border platform will allow Filipinos to receive and hold international money transfers initiated from Western Union’s digital network, and directly deposited into Coins.ph e-wallets.

In mid-January, Indonesia-based ride-hailing startup Go-Jek announced its acquisition of a majority stake in Coins.ph for US$72 million. The deal was seen as part of its expansion towards financial services, which launched its GoPay app in Indonesia, enabling financial services such as money transfers, offline payment, insurance and micro-loans.

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