Western Union Gets Greek Payments Moving

As Greece and its creditors continue bailout talks, Western Union is jump-starting the activation of international remittances into the country.

The global payment service provider is continuing its efforts to expand in-bound payout locations within the country by activating international and domestic money transfers.

The company’s latest effort in Greece will allow customers to receive money transfers in select retail Agent locations from around the world, Western Union announced today.

Western Union’s Greek customers can now receive cash in amounts not subject to capital controls from up to 270 out of 1,000 locations of WorldBridge Payment Institution (Paylink) across the country.

“To reinstate money transfer services for our customers is a great triumph, as we know the need to move money into Greece has never been more relevant than it is today. Our experience across the globe shows that during any type of crises – economic or otherwise – families and friends living abroad come together to support their loved ones in need,” Giovanni Angelini, SVP and GM for Europe at Western Union, said in a company release. “We are pleased to reinstate this important lifeline for customers in Greece who urgently depend upon the generosity and kindness of their family and friends across the world to send them funds to pay for regular expenses, including everyday living expenses, health care and education."

Western Union’s money transfer activation comes shortly after the Greek government issued a new law stating money transfer operators are to resume intra as well as in-bound transactions under special conditions, the company confirmed.

Earlier this month Western Union reactivated its Direct to Bank service to Greece to allow funds to be sent from those outside of Greece, although the news came with some restrictions.

At the time of the announcement, customers were still restricted to the €60 per transaction (about $65) per customer per day withdrawal limits. Regardless of the restrictions, Western Union transfers “will be credited based on the agreed send value into the bank accounts of customers,” the company said in a statement.

“This is a tremendous breakthrough, paving the way for family and loved ones across the globe to send money to their home community, particularly during more difficult financial circumstances,” Angelini said in a press release weeks ago.

Countries that can send funds via Western Union’s online service include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K, and the U.S.

And the countries that allow consumers to send funds using an agent retail location include: Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S.

The bank measures came down as the government ordered banks to enforce capital control when the European Central Bank (ECB) froze the level of emergency aid being made available to Greek banks. A huge surge in ATM withdrawals reportedly dried up over 500 of the 7,000 ATMS in the country last month, which forced ECB to freeze the pipeline feeding Greek banks with cash.

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