China’s Biggest Messaging App Integrates Western Union Money Transfer (Nov. 19, 2015)
The convergence of social media and money transfer has taken another step forward, with China’s biggest mobile messaging app partnering with Western Union to enable users to make cross-border P2P transfers. Under the agreement, U.S.-based users of mobile messaging service WeChat can use the app to send money via Western Union’s WU Connect platform to more than 200 countries. The transfer service will be rolled out to more of China-based WeChat’s 600 million active users in other countries in the future, Western Union said.
Introduced in October, WU Connect enables third-party messaging and social media platforms to embed Western Union’s global money transfer capabilities. App users can fund transfers via payment cards or bank accounts, and funds can be sent to a mobile wallet, bank account or Western Union retail locations around the world.
Many social media providers are seeking to elbow their way into the growing money transfer market. Earlier this year, Facebook added a money transfer function to its Messenger P2P app. Meanwhile, messaging service Snapchat teamed with Square last year to launch Snapcash, a feature that enables users to send and receive money within the Snapchat messaging app. Twitter also has money transfer plans, including a pair of initiatives with banks in India and France that enable users to send funds via the company’s social messaging platform. Remittances could be a particularly fruitful slice of the money transfer pie, with global remittance payments totaling $440 billion in 2015, according to the World Bank.