By Odilon Almeida
WU Bot for Messenger now allows Filipinos to “Request Money” from their friends and loved ones in the U.S.
What if while chatting with your brother abroad via Facebook Messenger, you could ask him to send you fifty dollars to help you pay for your extra-curriculum class book?
Well, now you can. After launching a money transfer bot for Messenger in the U.S., back in April, I had the honor to visit the Philippines recently and announce the second-phase of our alliance with the social media giant. It is a new and innovative feature of our money transfer bot for Messenger that enables consumers in the Philippines to request money from friends and family in the U.S. Requestors can state the transaction amount and their payout preference, with the option for funds to be received into any major bank account in the Philippines, or in cash at one of the more than 7,600 Western Union® retail Agent locations1 across every province in the country.
Why is this important? Well, according to recent data from the World Bank, the Philippines will continue to be one of the top three major remittance receiving countries in 2017. The estimated more than 10 million Filipinos living abroad -- in the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, to name a few2 -- are expected to remit 33 billion dollars to their home country this year alone.
Remittances account for almost 10% of the total GDP, and are so important to the economy of the Philippines that, last month, the government created a bank for Overseas Filipino Workers.
This reality is not new for Western Union. For over 27 years, we have been connecting the Filipino community abroad with their families and loved ones back home, making it fast, easy and convenient to send and receive money.
Filipinos are one of the world’s largest users of Facebook, and the Western Union bot for Messenger enables a digital-and-physical gateway for person-to-person money movement, bringing access, convenience and leading-edge technology to these highly digital-based consumers.
This collaboration underscores our commitment to financial inclusion, by connecting the world’s developed and emerging nations in innovative ways. We are constantly looking for opportunities to ensure we are making our services accessible and convenient, at both ends of a global money transfer.
1Network data as Q3
2Source: According to the latest estimate of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (2013).