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June 1, 2000
Western Union Unveils ‘SwiftPay’ Program
Western Union introduced
"SwiftPay" earlier this year to take cash payments for local prepaid service, and the money wire company feels the program has immense potential.
When a consumer prepays for monthly service from a SwiftPay enrolled with a
LEC, the Western Union (www.westernunion.com) agent initiates an electronic link. Within minutes, the location forwards that payment data and funding to the prepaid provider.
According to Doyal Bryant, chairman of the National ALEC Association/Prepaid Communications Association
(www.nala-pca.org), 25 percent of monthly payments for prepaid local dial tone are made at the last minute.
With more than 300,000 locations and near-instant electronic cash transfer capabilities, Western Union garners a lot of business.
“So they’re running to one of the Western Unions to make that payment, and that costs an extra $10.50 on top of the bill,” says Bryant. “SwiftPay was created to meet that. It’s only $6 now to go and make a payment to one of the CLECs that are signed up under the program.”
SwiftPay’s vice president and general manager Keith Diveley says, “We think it’s going to be big.”
Diveley explains that Western Union and the prepaid market are a natural fit.
“We take cash payments for a living anyway, and there were some unique needs that we saw that we thought we could address in this industry. It was looking for distribution, and we can offer electronic replenishment.”
Diveley says the company is committed to the product, and the proof is the creation at the beginning of the year of a business unit around it. It dedicates a portion of Western Union’s development team to the endeavor.
The first SwiftPay implementations began operating in April. The division is focused on building more contracts, working on Western Union agent awareness and provisioning programs.
Currently, 34 CLECs have signed up with the program, and Diveley is courting the RBOCs.
“Some of the carriers are paying the bill because what they figured out is that this is going to change the landscape,” says Bryant. “Because now, you can advertise and market your local prepaid product, and tell them to go to one of 30,000 Western Union locations. What a great distribution for any smart CLEC.”
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