UAE telecoms company e&, formerly known as Etisalat, and US payments service MoneyGram International have expanded their money transfer partnership to more countries to enable about 160 million customers to use their services.
The service, which is currently live in the UAE and Afghanistan, will extend into Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and other African nations where e& operates, in the next few months, the Abu Dhabi-based company said on Tuesday.
"The strategic partnership with MoneyGram has been enabling us to continue building this solid foundation of growth, adding to the array of financial products and services that enhance and add value to our customers' lives," Khalifa Al Shamsi, chief executive of e& life, said.
"We will continue to work with MoneyGram and its vast network for the benefit of e& money subscribers, while addressing the growing demand for a financial super app marketplace."
Remittances are a vital source of finance for several countries around the world. The UAE is among the top countries in this respect because of its large expatriate community.
Outward personal remittances in the UAE rose by more than 11 per cent, or about Dh18 billion ($4.9bn) in 2021, to hit Dh174.6bn, the Central Bank of the UAE said in its annual report.
Globally, remittances are expected to hit $630bn in 2022, an increase of 4.2 per cent from last year, the World Bank's latest report said.
Money transfers, meanwhile, have been made easier with the increasing use of mobile platforms.
More than half of all residents now use digital wallets as online payments increased after the Covid-19 pandemic. These have become more popular among the younger generation, payments solutions provider Checkout.com said in a recent report.
Also, more than half of consumers in the UAE said they planned to go cashless by 2024, compared with the global average of 41 per cent, a Visa study showed earlier this year.
"As more people across the world embrace digital financial services, we are continuously seeking new ways to empower our customers ... that help them to access financial services quickly and easily," said Mikhail Gerchuk, chief executive of e& international, the company's unit responsible for growing its global portfolio.
"International money transfer is a crucial service that enables our customers across our footprint to send and receive money from their families, given the large expat population living in the markets where we operate."
Customers using the e& and MoneyGram transfer service will be able to select from mobile wallets, bank accounts, card deposit services and retail locations to conduct transactions.
E& already has its mobile wallet service, e& money, which handles payments from a single application.
"We see a significant growth opportunity to efficiently add transactions to our scalable platform," said Alex Holmes, chairman and chief executive of MoneyGram.