Sramana Mitra: Let’s take that case and transfer it to a mobile money transfer scenario. Does it mean that both parties – the sender and the receiver – need to have your app on their mobile phones?
Nick LeCuyer: Absolutely not. That has been a core principal of how we designed our digital services, which is to be able to isolate the channel choices of the sender from the receiver. A money transfer is a transaction that always has two consumers involved – a sender and a receiver. Just because the sender in San Francisco wishes to use a mobile channel doesn’t mean necessarily that the receiver wishes to use a mobile channel, or vice versa. We designed our services such that a transfer can be mixed and matched across channels.
SM: The bottom line is as long as there are two anchor bank accounts in the picture, the transfer can happen. Is that correct?
NL: Actually, for retail transactions a bank account is not even required. Our retail network provides more than half a million locations globally, where consumers can walk into. Typically there is an ID requirement to authenticate who they are, and they can pick up cash at one of our agent locations globally.
SM: So, in the mobile banking part of it you are really trying to help the senders more than anything else, right?
NL: It could be receiver as well. I gave you the San Francisco example – that is predominantly a sender situation. But it could be in the receiving market as well. I mentioned Uganda. Uganda is a market where we are very proud of our partnership with MTN, whcih is one of the leading mobile networks operators there. MTN has launched a mobile wallet program in Uganda. Customers are able to use that program to make a range of financial transactions. One of the things we think is most empowering is that they can send the receiver Western Union transfers straight from their mobile devices using that service in Uganda. It is a bit of a needle in a haystack, given the size of the business, but you can image there could be a sender in the U.S. using our mobile app, sending money to Uganda, and the Ugandan customer might elect to receive that money using their MTN mobile device into their MTN mobile wallet.
SM: I see you have a lot of permutations and combinations.
NL: It is all about customer choice. We want to make sure we are providing the most and best choices to our customers, not forcing them into a specific channel, but giving them the best range of options so that we can meet their needs.