Â· Supporting payments through the Internet, telephone banking or branches
Â· Providing banks with competitive remittance product
Voca, the leading provider of payment services to banks and corporates, and Global Transaction Services, a business of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking, today signed an agreement to deliver a low-cost international remittance platform for banks. For the first time, consumers will be able to make global remittances directly from their current accounts through the secure environment of Internet, telephone banking and branches. The end-to-end remittance solution is quick and easy to implement, and provides banks with competitive access to a new market opportunity.
Voca and Citigroup will combine strengths to provide an industry platform for consumer money transfers. Voca brings its proven role in secure multi-bank integration and expertise in handling high transaction volumes and providing value-added services around core processing. It will be responsible for payment clearing, the primary interface with the banks as well as implementation and service desk support.
Citigroup brings the power of its global network and unrivalled international payments capabilities used by corporates, financial institutions and governments around the world and will be responsible for payments processing and distribution.
Marion King, chief executive officer of Voca, commented, âThere is a huge demand for an easier, low-cost way of sending money abroad, and this service offers a great way for banks to compete in this market. The opportunity to work with Citigroup on this innovative service complements our strategy to achieve international reach and play a leading role in payments innovation.â
Francesco Vanni d'Archirafi, chief executive officer of Citigroup Global Transaction Services for Europe, Middle East and Africa said, âCitigroup is very excited to be joining forces with Voca to offer a more secure, convenient and low-cost cross border money transfer service to banks serving the retail sector. We believe this highly competitive remittance facility will be the industry standard for people wanting to send money abroad.â
Following extensive market research, Voca and Citigroup identified a significant demand for a low-cost, secure and accessible money transfer platform that is easily accessible from customersâ own bank accounts and providing value for money compared to high street money transfer operators.
Gareth Thomas, minister of the Department for International Development (DFID) said, "Money sent by private individuals from the UK makes a significant contribution to tackling poverty in developing countries. We have put in place a set of actions with the private sector and developing country governments to enhance the impact of these remittances on development. I welcome this initiative by Voca and Citigroup as offering the potential for cheaper and more accessible remittance services on a significant scale."
The service is expected to significantly increase use of retail banks to send money abroad as it will be more secure and more convenient for customers than current methods. It will be offered initially to over 40 countries covering an estimated 85% of UK outbound remittance flows.
By offering an international money transfer service, banks will be able to increase opportunities for cross-selling to existing customers and to win new customers. The service is a turnkey solution designed to integrate easily with existing distribution channels. Remittances sent via the new service will be cleared by Voca and passed on to Citigroupâs global payments network. Transactions will be converted into the chosen destination currency before being transferred as an account credit, cheque or cash payment to the beneficiary in the destination country.