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MoneyGram’s FastSend lets you send money with just a phone number

Posted: 13 February 2020 3:49 pm

MoneyGram sign

The global money transmitter is attempting to digitize by establishing a money-by-SMS service.

MoneyGram just expanded its peer-to-peer money transfer service by allowing customers to send funds via SMS message. MoneyGram FastSend permits a customer — through the MoneyGram website or mobile app — to send money without having to enter the receiver’s banking information.

At a glance
Who: Moneygram customers
What: FastSend money-by-SMS service
Where to get it: MoneyGram app or website
Where to send money: U.S. and Spain, with more coming
Cost: $1.99 per transfer
Speed: Minutes
Limit: $10,000

“With the launch of the new FastSend service, sending money is now as easy as sending a text,” MoneyGram Chairman and CEO Alex Holmes said in the announcement. “FastSend builds on the success of our extremely popular mobile app and will further MoneyGram’s leading position in the evolution of digital P2P payments.”

For $1.99 per transfer, a customer can send up to $10,000. The sender only needs to enter the recipient’s name and phone number into the app or website. The funds would be deducted from the sender’s bank account or debit card, while the recipient merely follows the text link, adds their debit or bank account information and requests the funds. According to MoneyGram, the transfer would be completed “within minutes.” The recipient does not need to have an account with MoneyGram to receive the funds, as notification is sent by text.

While the $1.99 transaction fee is higher than other pay-by-text services like Google Pay, Apple Pay and PayPal, the transaction limit is higher for FastSend with fewer restrictions. Apple Pay has no transaction cost and a maximum send limit of $10,000 per message, for example, but you can only send $10,000 in a seven-day period. Google Pay has similar limits as Apple Pay; Florida residents, however, are limited to sending $3,000 every 24 hours, and recipients receiving transfers over $2,500 must transfer the funds to a bank account.

MoneyGram and Visa

FastSend was created in collaboration with Visa as part of the company’s multi-year partnership. The software uses Visa Direct, Visa’s “push” service that allows for near-instantaneous transfers between debit accounts. FastSend is currently available for sends within the United States and sends between the U.S. and Spain. MoneyGram intends to add more markets throughout the year.

The introduction of FastSend is part of MoneyGram’s attempt to digitize and match capabilities with other money remittance and money wallet services. “Over the last few years, we’ve invested in our digital business to build a fintech startup powered by our leading global brand,” said Kamila Chytil, MoneyGram Chief Operating Officer and leader of the company’s digital initiatives. “Our digital business is quickly becoming the leading cross-border P2P payment solution, and we’re excited to launch FastSend to further accelerate our digital growth.”

Much of MoneyGram’s efforts have been focused, to date, on a redesign of the company’s website and an expansion of MoneyGram’s reward program. Other initiatives that have been powered by the Visa and MoneyGram partnership were an expansion and simplification of MoneyGram’s cross-border money remittance and the ability to send payments directly to a debit card.

While FastSend is unlikely to make converts from existing users of Google Pay, Apple Pay or PayPal, the service does offer an alternative non-wallet solution for digital peer-to-peer money transfers to other pay-by-text apps, like Venmo or Square — which have smaller transaction limits than FastSend. FastSend also saves traditional MoneyGram users the hassle of having to fill out tedious forms, gathering receipt information from the receiving party and physically visiting a MoneyGram location.

Photo credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr

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