XL Plans to Tap Migrant Worker Community With Remittance Text Service

XL Axiata will allow customers to receive text messaged money transfers from 110 countries as the nation’s third largest cell phone operator attempts to cash in on remittances sent home from Indonesia’s migrant workers.

Indonesians abroad will be able to use the service, which has been dubbed “XL Tunai International Remittance,” to transfer money from Western Union outlets to XL customers across Indonesia. The recipients will receive a code via text message that can be redeemed for cash at Alfamart convenience stores and XL outlets, the company announced on Monday.

The cell phone operator will charge customers between Rp 5,000 ($0.52) and Rp 10,000 per transaction.

“This service will help customers working overseas send money to their families [back] in their hometowns,” said Dian Siswarini, director for technology, content and new businesses, during the launch event in Jakarta on Monday.

The company launched a domestic money transfer service, XL Tunai Domestik Remittance, in June. XL expects fees from wire transfers to account for at least 20 percent of the company’s revenue by 2015, said Yesie D. Yosetia, senior general manager for finance.

“Our focus in the first three years will be ecosystem development and preparing the customers,” Yesie said. “We expect to start harvesting [the profits] in 2015.”

There are currently six to eight million Indonesians living abroad, according to voter registration data. The World Bank placed that number closer to 2.5 million in a 2011 report on worldwide remittance figures. According to the World Bank, Indonesians abroad sent home $7.1 billion in remittances in 2010.

XL Axiata, a subsidiary of the Malaysian Axiata Group, had processed domestic wire transfers for 250,000 customers by February. The company plans to expand the service to reach 2 million customers by the end of the year.

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