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Western Union (NYSE: WU), a leader in global payment services, ICICI Bank and MasterCard have joined forces to launch the Western Union® ICICI Bank Prepaid Card in India.
The card offers millions of underbanked Indians – many who carry cash 24/7 – a safe way to store and access their money anytime along with new options for saving and spending.
In addition, the card will be the first in the market to allow the cardholder to load funds on the cards of family members and loved ones or to transfer funds card-to-card across the nation. This feature, which Western Union expects to introduce next year, has the power to financially include millions in a country experiencing an explosion in rural-to-urban migration.
“Western Union’s vision is to promote financial inclusion in India with ICICI Bank and MasterCard,” said Mike Hafer, Senior Vice President, Global Prepaid, Western Union. “The new card will give Indians benefits similar to those offered by mainstream banked cards without the restrictions of maintaining an average daily balance limit or being denied for creditworthiness.”
The Western Union ICICI Bank Prepaid Card has the potential to elevate Indians into the financial mainstream in a nation where, according to the World Bank, usage of bank accounts by people 15 and older is 35 percent; just 8 percent receive their wages into a bank account; and 4 percent use an account for business.
Indians can add funds to their cards via direct deposit from payroll or government payments, by loading their own cash at select Western Union Agent locations or with a money transfer.
“ICICI Bank is pleased to be associated with Western Union and MasterCard,” said Mr. Kusal Roy, Head, Cards, Personal Loans and ATMs, ICICI Bank Limited. “This card will provide the choice, convenience and safety of a card solution to a large customer base, which is underbanked and traditionally deals in cash. This is in line with the bank’s strategy to extend electronic payment solutions across customer segments and provide a seamless transaction experience to its customers.”