Western Union (NYSE: WU), a leader in global payment services, and Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) today announced they will work together to introduce a co-branded prepaid payroll card in the United Arab Emirates.
The CBD Western Union® Payroll Card, which is expected to be available this summer, follows the introduction of the UAE government-mandated Wages Protection System (WPS), which requires that all workers in the UAE receive their payroll electronically – deposited into a bank account or onto a prepaid card.
Although many prepaid payroll cards exist in the UAE, many of the workers who receive their payroll this way are withdrawing cash at ATMs to conduct everyday financial transactions, according to Western Union research. The majority of workers in the UAE are global citizens – people who have migrated from another country. One of the primary reasons they are withdrawing cash is to send money home to their friends and families. In fact, according to the Central Bank of UAE, employees’ transfers abroad increased from US$10.5 billion in 2010 to US$11.2 billion in 2011.
Recognizing an unmet need in the marketplace, Western Union is working with CBD to introduce a card that allows these workers to receive their payroll directly onto the card and send funds directly from the card.
“We are already collaborating with CBD on a service that allows their customers to send money directly from their bank accounts,” said Jean Claude Farah, senior vice president, Middle East and Africa, Western Union. “Now, with this new card, workers in the UAE will have yet another convenient way to conduct one of their primary financial transactions – sending money home to their loved ones.”
The alliance with CBD is part of the new WU Global Share Platform. This partner platform enables Western Union and local companies to leverage the unique assets of each company to implement innovative stored-value solutions around the globe.
“With this card, workers in the UAE can send money transfers directly from their prepaid cards without facing the inconvenience of waiting in long queues at ATMs to withdraw cash and send money as they did before,” said Souheil Yammine, Head of Cards from Commercial Bank of Dubai. “Now all they have to do is receive their payroll on the CBD Western Union Payroll Card, visit a participating Western Union Agent location and use the card to transfer money directly from the card.”
Once available, the card can be used at participating Western Union Agent locations in the UAE to send funds to more than 515,000 Western Union locations in 200 countries and territories. In the future, workers in the UAE will be able to send funds directly from the card online or with their phones, said Frans Jan Burkens, Head of Consumer Banking at Commercial Bank of Dubai.