Ooredoo Launches Mobile Money Service In Qatar, Partners With Aldar Exchange For International Money Transfers

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Ooredoo is majority owned by the state of Qatar and one of the largest mobile telecommunications providers in the world with more than 100 million customers worldwide.

The company announced its partnership with Aldar Exchange last Tuesday. It will enable Ooredoo Mobile Money customers to send money directly to international bank accounts, leveraging Aldar’s remittance channels.

Aldar Exchange has been in operation since 2006, and uses a network of 85 reputed correspondent banks and agents worldwide,including Western Union, Ria Money Transfer, Al Ansari, Cash Express and iRemit.

Ooredoo customers will use the Ooredoo “Supernet” combined with an Ooredoo Money application to make the transfers, which will be sent via mobile wallets known as mWallets.

The countries currently available to users of the service include India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Jordan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Ooredoo insists that sender’s will benefit from one of the most competitive exchange rates and fee structures in Qatar, as well as a convenient and hassle-free service, compared to carrying cash and waiting in queues at exchange houses, still a common way to send money overseas from Qatar.

Ooredoo says the new service is available for almost all banks operating in the destination countries. In most cases, the company says, the money reaches the target account with 24-72 hours. A service to send SMS notifications after a successful account credit is also available through the app.

How it works
  • Customers must register for the mobile app and then load money into their mWallet, either by visiting a local Ooredoo shop or locating an Ooredoo SSM machine.
  • Using the mobile money menu, the sender then inputs the beneficiary details, creates a 4-digit pin, and has the opportunity to view the quoted exchange rate and fee, and select the nature of the transaction (loan repayment, school fees etc.) before sending.
  • Once the recipients account is credited they are informed by SMS.

The Money Cloud View

The Ooredoo / Aldar partnership is another a step forward for the Middle Eastern remittance market and mobile money. The product has some handy features, such as being able to input the reason for the transaction, and the SMS notification service. On the downside, customers will have to visit a store to add funds to their mobile wallets.

We can’t comment yet on the competitiveness of the exchange rates and fees but as an alternative to queueing at a bank with a large quantity of cash, the service will surely catch on.

It is probably best used for smaller transactions; we’d still advise using a dedicated money transfer broker when sending larger sums, for the better rates and FX market advice on offer.

It’s another sign that mobile money is the next big thing, and that the Middle East is catching up with Asia and embracing disruptive fintech services for its money transfers; a massive market, experiencing equally massive change!