GSM group, MasterCard team up on mobile money transfer

(Associated Press via NewsEdge) The GSM Association, which represents many of the world's wireless companies, said it has launched a pilot program with MasterCard that will let international migrant workers send money back home faster by using the extensive reach of mobile networks.

Led by a group of 19 mobile operators with networks in more than 100 countries and accounting for more than 600 million subscribers, the GSMA said it believed the program could help double the number of migrant workers, estimated at around 200 million globally, by doubling the recipients of international remittances to more than 1.5 billion.

Both GSMA and MasterCard said using cellular networks could expand the value of remittances to more than $1 trillion by 2012.

'We believe that this coming together of the mobile and banking industry is a giant leap in mobile commerce,' said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and managing director of Bharti Airtel. 'It will revolutionize the money transfer industry with its advantages, such as reach, ease of use, and lower transaction costs and provide immense benefits to people in developing nations such as India.'

The system works by having mobile operators partner with banks at the local or regional level. GSMA is establishing a pilot program with MasterCard worldwide to provide international authorization, clearing and settlements.

'This pilot provides a unique opportunity to use our global payments products and platform to help open up new business opportunities in developing countries,' said Roy Dunbar, president of MasterCard's global technology and operations. 'We look forward to working with local markets and partners to bring much-needed payment and money transfer alternatives to the vast community of underbanked, as well as all consumers wishing to transfer money internationally.'

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