By Espie Angelica A. de Leon
Remittance firm Western Union (WU) has partnered with Facebook Messenger to facilitate money transfer between the Philippines and the US via a bot embedded in the social media platform.
This was announced by WU representatives during a media roundtable event at Shangri-La The Fort in Taguig City where the global payments company also launched the money transfer or “request money” bot in the Philippines on October 25.
With the bot, a person in Manila who wants to request money from another person, say a relative in the US, will just have to search for WU within Facebook Messenger and select “Request Money.”
Next, he will have to enter information in some fields, including how much money he is requesting. The bot then gives him choices as to how he prefers to receive the money – whether through his bank account in the Philippines or in cash at any WU retail agent location in the country. After this, he can then send his request to his relative in the US.
His relative then receives a notification from FB Messenger. He simply clicks on this request and he is taken directly to the bot within Messenger, allowing him to send the money to Manila in just a few clicks.
But before he completes the transaction, he also gets to choose how he’s going to send the money.
“So you’ve got choice of control not only on the receive side but on the send side as well,” said WU senior vice president and general manager for global money transfer in Asia Pacific Molly Shea.
Not only does the bot make seamless and convenient digital money transfer possible, it also allows users to keep track of their money transfer activities, know real-time foreign exchange rates, avail automated customer support, receive notifications, and others.
“This collaboration underscores our commitment to financial inclusion, by connecting the world’s developed and emerging nations in innovative ways. We are constantly looking for opportunities to ensure we are making our services accessible and convenient, at both ends of a global money transfer,” said WU global money transfer president Odilon Almeida.
“We are pleased to see Philippines chosen as an early adopter of mobile-led digital technology,” added WU country head for the Philippines Jeffrey Navarro.
The Philippines is the third largest receiver of remittances in the world. It is also home to one of the world’s largest Facebook user groups. Meanwhile, the US is the largest remittance sender in the entire globe.