Western Union Digitalizes: Money Transfers with App

Senders By Emily Larson March 24, 2017

Western Union, a leader in global payment services, announces further digitalization in the Netherlands with the launch of the Western Union mobile app. Mobile users in the Netherlands can now transfer money to Western Union agent locations for cash pick-up, directly into a recipient’s bank account, and into mobile wallets in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.

The Western Union app shortens and simplifies the customer journey, allowing senders to check current exchange rates and tariffs, quickly repeat previous transactions and follow transfers via their mobile phone. The app provides scanning capabilities for credit and payment card details and allows users to save contacts, personal information and payment methods.

The launch of the app for Android and Apple devices in the Netherlands fits in the digital transformation of Western Union. The company, which has been connecting people via money transfers since the 19th century, sees mobile devices as a central tool in its omni-channel approach. Key element of Western Union’s global FinTech strategy is to engage the younger digital-first customer looking for online money transfer services, with a 28 percent transaction growth via westernunion.com in the last quarter. The success of this strategy was already felt in the Netherlands, where use of the online offering of Western Union is amongst the highest in Europe.

This is not surprising as the Netherlands is a leader in the digital sphere –  the country ranks 2nd in the 2016 European Commission Digital Economy and Society Index, and 83% of the Dutch own a smartphone (GfK Trends in Digital Media, January 2017). But whilst mobile banking and other financial services are commonplace in the Netherlands, they were predominantly focused on the domestic sphere. This left a gap for those people in the Netherlands who wished to transfer money to, for example, family and friends in countries such as Morocco, Surinam, The Philippines and Latin America. This changes with the launch of the Western Union app, allowing global money transfers to be done via a variety of channels, both at retail locations and digitally.

“Convenience is key in every market, but the expectations that consumers in the Netherlands have are amongst the highest in the world”, said Frédéric Labarthe, Country Director BeNeLux at Western Union. “With the launch of the Western Union app our customers based in the Netherlands can now send money across the globe in whatever way they prefer: cash at one of the more than 500 Dutch Western Union agent locations, online or from a mobile device via credit and payment cards, bank transfer or iDEAL – a unique attribute of this market.”

Additional functionality will become available in the coming year. This includes the possibility to prepare a transaction using your mobile phone, followed by a cash payment at a Western Union location. The innovation, which bridges the physical and digital worlds, will further increase convenience for both customers and Western Union agents – with only around 30 seconds needed in-store to finalize the transaction.

The app can be downloaded in the Dutch Google Play Store and Apple App Store now.