Technology giant Ericsson is testing its money service facility after it included the Philippines in the initial countries that can receive funds from seven countries in Europe.
Adam Kerr, Ericsson Mobile Money representative, said the company has partnered with Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc. to allow overseas Filipinos in seven European countries to send money back home.
Globe will use its GCash service, while Smart will utilize its Smart Money platform.
The said launch was made late last week in time for the Barrio Fiesta sa London event over the weekend.
“It will be a person to person money service,” Kerr said in a telephone interview.
Since the service was relatively new, Kerr said that it only allows Filipinos in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland and Sweden to send money to the Philippines. The service, however, does not allow sending money from the Philippines to these seven countries, Kerr said.
United Kingdom has visible numbers of Filipino nurses, while Italy and Spain are major European destination countries for domestic workers. Germany has many Filipinos who have married Germans, while France is the number one European destination country for irregular Filipino workers.
There are an estimated 722,427 overseas Filipinos in the entire Europe as of 2009, says data from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. Of the figure, 312,361 were permanent migrants, 309,914 were temporary migrants, and 100,152 were irregular migrants.
Ericsson plans to add more countries before the year ends.
As well, Ericsson will target overseas workers, those consumers who are used to transacting only with cash, and those with limited access to the formal banking system.
Senders from the seven countries will need to register with the Ericsson money website, which can also be accessed using a Smart phone. Using the service requires a mobile phone number from the sending countries but most of its transactions can be done over the Internet.
Ericsson’s system has a limit of sending 1,600 pounds a year (or about P110,960) for restricted account, but GCash can only hold up to P40,000. To upgrade an account, Ericsson will ask the sender for additional financial documents, which is part of the global anti-money laundering initiatives.
The company has yet to publish details for the Smart Money receiving limits.
For those countries in Europe, only those who have an Ericsson Money account can accept funds.
The company did not provide details on fees as it differs from country to country.
There is no fee to set up an Ericsson Money Services wallet, but there is an application fee of €5, or equivalent local currency, for the Ericsson Money Card.
At launch for a limited period of time, there will be no commission fee for sending money to other recipients or its partners, but the company will eventually charge its customers for sending money.
Paolo Baltao, president of GXchange Inc. (the mobile commerce subsidiary of Globe), said the new service could bring down the cost of sending money by about 40 percent compared with those remittance centers or through banks.
“Mobile payments and person-to-person money transfers are forecasted to become some of the most-used mobile applications in many countries in the next two or three years,” Ericsson said in its previous statement. – OFW Journalism Consortium