Western Union announced Thursday (July 5) that it has inked a deal with Post Bank, one of Russia’s largest banks, to enable customers to use Post Bank’s mobile banking app to send Western Union Money Transfers directly into billions of bank accounts in more than 50 countries. In a press release, Western Union said Post Bank customers can still choose their receiver to be paid in cash in more than 200 countries and territories.
“Through our digital services, we are connecting more people across borders than ever before,” said Western Union’s Global Money Transfer President Odilon Almeida in the press release. “Our collaboration with Post Bank gives the sender convenient access to send money at their finger-tips, and also the flexibility to choose the payout option most convenient to the receiver — paid into bank accounts or received in cash at Western Union retail agent locations.”
Western Union said in the press release that, to send money transfers to a bank account, the customer must fill out a form on the Post Bank mobile banking app, specify the receiver’s name, destination country, bank account details and the amount to be sent. After the form has been filled and submitted, the sender will receive a one-time password via SMS. After inserting the one-time password, the sender will receive an electronic receipt with the unique Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN). The transfer currency is automatically converted into the currency of the recipient’s banking account.
The deal comes as Western Union recently said that testing Ripple‘s cryptocurrency XRP for payments hasn’t given the company any financial benefits as of yet. Speaking during a presentation at the Economic Club of New York covered by Fortune, the Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek said that while the company is testing Ripple’s xRapid product that uses its XRP digital tokens to transfer money between foreign currencies, it isn’t saving it money — even though Ripple has said its blockchain technology, coupled with XRP, is a quicker and cheaper way for Western Union and others to transfer money around the globe.
“We are always criticized that Western Union is not cost-efficient, blah blah blah, but we did not see that part of the efficiency yet during our tests,” Ersek said. “The practical matter is it’s still too expensive.”
He said the company would only use XRP for payments if it could reduce the costs of Western Union. The executive did note that the pilot Western Union is involved is could be “too small,” since it only tested it for transfers between the U.S. dollar and the Mexican peso. Ersek said he wasn’t giving up on blockchain technology and that it could reduce costs down the road. He said he was committed to the pilot with Ripple.