Poles To Pioneer Money Transfer By Mobile

Poles to pioneer money transfer by mobile

Richard Wray
The Guardian
Monday 22 December 2008

Polish people in Britain can now send cash back home by merely tapping a few digits into their mobile with the launch of a new service today from NatWest.

Using mobile phone technology to send money has taken off in countries such as India and Kenya where many people do not have bank accounts and use mobiles to send money to relatives in rural areas, who claim their cash at local shops.

But the NatWest service, which uses technology from the UK firm Monitise, is the first time that mobile money transfer has been launched in a major “donor” country. An estimated 1bn a year is sent back to Poland by migrant workers in Britain. NatWest is seeking to expand the service to other communities in Britain, with Indians being an obvious target.

Roy Vella, head of mobile at NatWest's parent RBS, said: “Person-to-person transfer, whether across regions or within borders, represents a massive flow of payments. This is definitely just the beginning for us, not the end.”

The NatWest service will initially only be open to those with a NatWest Welcome Account but the bank expects to open the service up to holders of other accounts. Account holders will be able to use their existing NatWest mobile banking to send cash from their NatWest account to accounts with its Polish partner, PKO Bank Polski, free of charge and regardless of which mobile phone network they use.

Several mobile phone companies have moved into money transfer services to boost revenues or customer loyalty.