MoneyGram has staked its claim
firmly in the Philippines’ mobile phone-based money transfer arena
with the forging of an alliance with Smart Communications, the
country’s largest mobile network operator (MNO).

Stressing the significance of the alliance,
John Hempsey, MoneyGram’s executive vice-president for Europe,
Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, said this partnership gives
MoneyGram access to more than 39 million Smart subscribers in the

In the initial phase of the mobile remittance
service MoneyGram launched a pilot project in late December 2009 in
a number of agent locations in San Diego, California and Hong

The service enables consumers to send money
from the pilot locations to any Smart Money account linked to the
Smart mobile phone network in the Philippines.

In Smart, MoneyGram has a partner with
significant experience in the mobile money market. Smart made its
entry into the mobile payments market in December 2000 with the
launch of Smart Money, a reloadable Smart Money-branded MasterCard
debit card that provides the option of being accessed through a
Smart mobile phone which also facilitates applications such as
money transfers and bill payments.

Smart expanded on its mobile services in
August 2004 with the launch of Smart Padala, the world’s first
international money remittance service via mobile text messaging.
Smart Padala enables Filipinos living
abroad to remit cash to Smart Money account holders in the

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By GlobalData

MoneyGram’s entry into the Philippines mobile
remittance service market comes well after that of its major rival
Western Union, which in August 2008 launched a service in
conjunction with Filipino MNO Globe Telecom.

This service, initially made available in the
US state of Hawaii, enables consumers to transfer money to Globe
subscribers in the Philippines where the service is available to
the 1.5 million users of Globe’s GCash mobile money service
launched in October 2004.