American remittance firm Western Union has bought Brazil-based Te Enviei, marking the debut of its digital wallet service in Latin America.

The move follows the launch of the company’s digital banking service in Europe in February this year.

It aims to enable Western Union to provide its customers with an additional range of digital financial services under its revamped purpose-driven policy.

Using the digital wallet, Western Union clients in Brazil will be able to store funds, make cross-border and local fund transfers as well as pay their bills through their phones.

The company plans to launch its digital wallet in Brazil in the first half of next year.

Western Union chief innovation and data officer Thomas Mazzaferro said: “We are changing the way we interact with our customers today, moving from a transactional business to a customer-centric, relationship-based approach.

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“Offering our Brazilian customers an integrated digital banking and money transfer solution will be a key milestone in this effort.

“We believe this acquisition will allow us to significantly accelerate our planned technology build, allowing for the faster roll out of our digital wallet in Brazil.”

Currently, Western Union offers cross-border transactions across more than 200 countries and territories and in nearly 130 currencies.

Western Union Brazil president Ricardo Amaral said: “Brazil is a strategically important market where we already hold a banking licence, and it is a highly digitised banking market.

“Additionally, our internal research indicates that many Brazilians are looking for financial products that can address their needs in a global economy.”

Last month, Western Union renewed its existing collaboration with Visa to expand its integration with Visa Direct, a real-time money transfer network of Visa.