Western Union (NYSE: WU), a leader in global payment services, and Microsoft-owned Skype, provider of internet software that enables users to communicate via messaging, video or voice calls, today announced an agreement which allows Skype customers to top up their accounts at more than 50,000 Western Union® Agent locations across the United States.
This strategic alliance advances Western Union’s market leadership in enabling digital-age participation by using a walk-in payment solution for consumers. It also paves the way for value-add offerings for companies with digital-rich content or online merchandisers seeking to attract new customers.
Under the agreement, consumers can now use Western Union services to purchase Skype Credit, which enables calls to mobile and landlines worldwide. Calling rates start as low as 1 cent per minute1. Skype Credit also offers the ability to send text messages directly from Skype to mobile phones, which is ideal for consumers wishing to stay in touch while travelling.
Western Union’s Odilon Almeida, President, Americas and European Union, said, “The relationship is a logical one, as both Western Union and Skype have a mission to connect people when they are apart.
“Western Union is optimizing its money transfer system to link cash and digital for money movement and payments across the globe. We are driving our innovation on the back of what our customers want. Skype is a classic example; where customers can enjoy full digital access with a walk-in payment option,” he said.
Our business is moving money for our customers whether they are banked, under-banked or un-banked. This includes consumer to consumer remittances, consumers to business payments, cross border payments for SMEs and disbursements for NGOs, Financial Institutions and Educational bodies.
“Our ability to link cash and digital and vice versa creates boundless opportunity for consumers and businesses, including billers within the United States.
“Today, we are improving choices, with the goal of allowing people to send money any time, any way and (almost) anywhere on earth, through an array of pay-in options such as cash, bank account, debit, credit, prepaid, mobile wallet and now Apple Pay in the U.S.,” he said.
Skype has over 300 million active users and many of those users are also Western Union customers. “Through Skype, Western Union customers can stay in touch with loved ones to let them know about money transfers and share everyday experiences,” said Enrico Noseda, Director of Business Development at Microsoft. “Communicating through Skype helps keep families together, no matter their location.”
Skype customers can connect to family and friends from a smartphone, tablet or computer. Skype lets people communicate and share files with anyone else on Skype through IM chat, voice, video or even group video calls. While Skype-to-Skype calls are free, Skype Credit is required to call landline or mobile numbers, which is charged via a debit-based user account system.
The Western Union® Quick Collect® platform facilitates consumer-to-business payments. Skype customers can simply top up their own Skype account, or that of a loved one.
The Western Union Quick Collect service is enabled in the U.S. through an Agent network of more than 50,000 locations which include banks, national retail and grocery chains and independent locations.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of December 31, 2014, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of over 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and over 100,000 ATMs and kiosks. In 2014, The Western Union Company completed 255 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $85 billion of principal between consumers, and 484 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.
Source: Western Union