Western Union Gains Mobile Momentum with Investment in Billing Specialist
Western Union continues to expand its presence in the mobile vertical with an investment in Walletron Inc., a provider of mobile wallet bill presentment and payments services. The investment follows a deal struck between the companies earlier this year, under which Western Union’s Speedpay electronic bill payment service began offering biller clients the option to incorporate Walletron’s moBills platform. The technology enables bill-paying customers to receive personalized notifications, bill information and a streamlined payment experience via smartphone.
For Western Union, the investment represents the latest step in the company’s push to grow its mobile offerings in the face of competition from emerging P2P services, such as Venmo, Fiserv’s Popmoney, Square Cash and Facebook’s Messenger-based transfers. A number of leading U.S. banks also have bended together to develop a P2P service of their own, Zelle.
“Western Union is driving mobile as our priority customer engagement channel across our money transfer and payments business,” said Khalid Fellahi, senior vice president and general manager, Western Union Digital. “Our association with Walletron reinforces this direction, which forms part of our overall omnichannel strategy.”
In February, Western Union partnered with mobile messaging app Viber to offer money transfers of up to $499 via Viber’s app, with funds available to be picked up at Western Union locations. The convergence of mobile and bill payments specifically also is an area of focus for the company, which recently conducted a survey that found that 27 percent of all consumers and 48 percent of Gen Y consumers say they expect to pay more bills via mobile in the future.