The company has partnered with a Nigerian company in order to provide locals with smartphone money solutions.
The Western Union Company has just entered into a deal with the Nigerian company called Virtual Terminal Network (VTN) in order to provide a mobile payments solution to consumers in the country.
The service allows users to fund a VTN VCASH account and transfer money to other accounts.
The customers would fund the account through the use of Western Union. From there, VCASH users would be able to make mobile payments transfers for amounts that are up to $300. This money is then usable within their accounts to make transfers via peer to peer, as well as to pay bills or to purchase something at a point of sale.
This mobile payments solution can open up a world of opportunity to an unbanked or under-banked population.
According to Aida Diarra, a regional vice president of Western Union, “Being able to move international money transfers into mobile phones in a nation that has a greater penetration of mobile phones than bank accounts is central to facilitating financial inclusion.”
It has been reported that in the country, there are an estimated 105 million people who subscribe to cellular phones. A growing number of them have smartphones or feature phones that are capable of using this service. Among the phone subscribers, there were $21 million in transactions made last year.
It is important to note the importance of the mobile payments opportunity in Nigeria, as there are only an estimated 30 percent of Nigerian adults who actually have a bank account. This type of solution can bring banking services and transaction opportunities to the much of the remainder of the population who do not have access to traditional banks.
The VTN chief executive officer, Peter Ojo, explained that his company is “thankful to the Central Bank of Nigeria” for its regulatory framework for mobile payments. This allows operators with a non-bank model to offer international funds transfers to recipients regardless of whether or not they have traditional bank accounts. He added that this level of innovation, within the boundaries of “strict regulatory guidelines” makes it easier for citizens at all levels to prosper economically.