Absa has made cash send and payments via Western Union available on its app, a move the bank describes as a first for South Africa.
Cowyk Fox, Managing Executive, Everyday Banking, Retail and Business Bank (RBB SA), Absa, said, "Absa is the only Western Union partner to offer the international cash send payment service via online and cellphone banking. This game-changing development is part of Absa's broader ambition of providing customers with a powerful blend of affordability, ease of use of digital platforms and a focus on safety and security. These are essential ingredients aimed at deepening financial inclusion in South Africa."
Fox added that in an increasingly globally-minded, connected and digitised world, international remittances have become crucial as customers look for safe, predictable and efficient ways of transferring money across borders.
"The Western Union and Absa partnership provides customers with the added assurance that they have a secure, fast and safe money transfer solution available which is underpinned by a deep knowledge of remittance and banking environments. Moreover, allowing customers to send cash to anyone, anywhere in the world right from their banking app is another step towards contributing to the economy by driving digital and financial inclusion."
Absa believes access to data is a barrier to adopting digital banking for marginalised communities and the youth.
Forex issues in Zimbabwe
In February 2019 money transfer agencies in Zimbabwe reported that they were either delaying or failing to remit services due to a lack of foreign currency.
Agencies expressed concern over the inability to access forex from local banks for onward transfer to receivers.
ITWeb Africa reported that the Western Union was forced to temporarily suspend its service in Zimbabwe after the termination of correspondent-bank arrangements between local banks and international financial institutions.
In November 2018 Safaricom and Western Union established an alliance called M-Pesa Global, through which M-Pesa users can send funds to over 550 000 Western Union agents globally.
M-Pesa Global will facilitate outbound payments via USSD (*840#) and MySafaricom Mobile app.