The Western Union Company a leader in global payment services, announced that it has expanded Western Union NGO GlobalPay, a dedicated financial platform designed to meet the international payment needs of non-profit, non-governmental organisations and the people they serve.
The first phase of Western Union NGO GlobalPay was launched in December 2012. The platform is being designed and piloted to help NGOs overcome the ‘last mile challenge’ and enable NGOs to reach more people in need of funds quickly and securely, especially in times of disaster. Since its launch, Western Union’s pilot partners have used the service to provide emergency relief in some of the poorest and most conflict-ridden regions of the globe.
The platform has delivered emergency relief to countries in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and this quarter, Western Union NGO GlobalPay was used to deliver more than 3,500 payments to over 1,800 Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Brian Harris, chief product officer at Western Union Business Solutions, said, “There is a distinct trend in the NGO sector towards cash disbursement. More NGOs are looking for ways to send funds that give recipients increased choice in deciding what they most need. The whole point of this pilot is to create a payment platform that gives NGOs speed, accountability and flexibility so they can get funds to the people who need it most in the fastest, most appropriate way possible.”
“Delivering aid in an emergency increasingly means delivering cash,” said Jane Cocking, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Director. “Giving people money in hand means they can choose what they need. This not only gives them some control over their lives, it also gives back some dignity.
“As long as there are affordable goods available in the local market then cash is smart-aid. Having an extensive network of cash outlets that is secure, reliable, quick and at the right price will mean that we are much better placed to deliver aid straight into the hands of those who need it most.”
With the new release, Western Union NGO GlobalPay is now able to send cash payments to 59 countries. By the end of the year, this number will increase to 189 countries. The product will also include enhanced reporting capabilities that will allow NGOs to track when each payment is delivered, and where, allowing full reporting transparency for every transaction they send.
Western Union NGO GlobalPay can now also make payments to mobile wallets in 11 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, allowing recipients, especially those who may face difficulties travelling, to receive funds directly to a mobile phone.
Brian Harris continued, “We are excited to have reached a point where we can send funds with even greater scale to allow people to receive cash in person or via mobile wallets. We have already established a number of partnerships with leading non-governmental organisations, including Oxfam and Save the Children, through which NGO GlobalPay has been able to support critical intervention by delivering thousands of payments to help those in need.”
Western Union NGO GlobalPay represents Western Union’s two-year Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action and will be fully in force by the end of 2014.
Through Western Union Business Solutions services and products, over 500 NGOs have been served.