Barely a year ago MoneyGram Chief Revenue Officer Peter Ohser, told Karen Webster that the company launched its MobilePass pilot program with a fairly simple goal: to make it easier for customers to manage their money transfers how they want, when they want.
As a pilot, he was limited to CVS locations. Today, Ohser told Webster, now is the time to chart a course for MobilePass: a large-scale rollout to 35,000 MoneyGram locations and more nationwide.
“E[e rollout] is really part of our larger MoneyGram My Way program and … [taps] in the knowledge we get from our consumers, ”said Ohser. “Over the past year, we have extended and optimized services and processes for our customers, and we are now ready to enable them across our network.
The network excludes Walmart’s MoneyGram locations because they are already integrated with Walmart’s own branded app and are in line with Walmart’s own mobile money transfer strategy.
Ohser said it had been an educational journey, but with some hurdles to overcome. Raising “activation energy,” as Ohser describes it, is inherently difficult and was, in fact, MoneyGram’s biggest challenge. Helping customers take advantage of something designed to be “cash pre-order” took a bit of work.
“We asked our associates to show our clients how the program works,” Ohser explained, adding that this was the only real way for them to see and understand how much he could streamline the relationship with HR departments. money transfer from MoneyGram. But once they saw it – and saw it in action – they loved it and passed it on to their friends and family.
The upcoming mobile order for money transfer
The money transfer, noted Peter Ohser, requires two things: setting up – setting up documents and performing various checks to make sure the transaction is valid – then paying and sending the money. money to the recipient.
Staging behavior, especially among regular consumers, is pretty consistent, he noted. Customers usually choose the same day to send money (Fridays and Saturdays are popular); they tend to favor a small number of places (one but no more than five) to make their transfers and they send the money to a few of the same places every time they initiate a transfer.
What MobilePass allows these customers to do is order their wire transfer before coming to the store to hand in the money to send, much like ordering coffee in advance from Dunkin ‘Donuts. These senders use the app to configure the amount, where it should go and all other relevant information from the privacy of their mobile phone and set the amount and date of payment: i.e. staging. Then, when they’re ready to send, they visit their preferred physical MoneyGram location, complete the transaction by handing over money – in most cases to the MoneyGram associate – and call the day.
These customers, Ohser said, typically send money to a maximum of two to three people and pay perhaps three to five bills. The “beauty” of having MobilePass for the staging, he said, is that once the data is entered into the app – something he says is “super fast” – they can skip the line and get to the window to send the money.
“Time for these people is money, and we really see [MobilePass] as a way to bring real benefit to the customer on many levels, ”Ohser said.
Digital – Cash cooperation
The tendency may be to view mobile transactions and cash as natural antagonists, but this does not have to be so. Some customers want to interact in a purely digital way; others don’t, Ohser noted. But either way, he said, that doesn’t mean digital tools can’t or shouldn’t be used to make everyone’s experience more seamless.
“Digital is growing, but so are our physical channels,” Ohser said, adding that there are a “huge number” of customers who want a personalized digital experience but prefer to pay in cash. He believes MobilePass is a way for cash customers to benefit from mobile transactions without having to forgo a payment method they love and trust.
Ohser also pointed out that MoneyGram is truly channel independent. The company wants customers to interact with them in stores, online, at Walmart, in their app, wherever they want, how they want. Consumers are following suit, as around a third of their customer base “chooses to switch between channels at will,” meaning their best bet as a business isn’t to try and choose just one channel as much as to ensure that traveling between the canals is efficient and easy.
Customers need access and choice, he said, because they rely on MoneyGram for their everyday interactions: sending money to loved ones or paying their bills. The importance and power of providing access and choice, however, becomes really evident when the going gets tough, as recently happened in Houston.
Make it work – even when everything is broken
MoneyGram, Ohser noted, owns nearly 1,000 locations in greater Houston, but as of the Monday morning of September 4, 2017, when business “opened” there, only 10% were functional. Although the sites themselves were not directly affected by the flooding, in many cases employees could not get to them.
The good news is that MoneyGram has a lot of experience in crisis situations and a long history of bringing money to markets where money is needed quickly.
“We got our hands on a list of all the evacuation centers and then overlaid this map with our network map so that we could prioritize the opening locations near those shelter locations,” Ohser said. “It was priority one; then use social channels and local partners like Walmart to do … [sure] we could put money in [those] markets. “
And in the hands of people who really, really needed it, which means MoneyGram has spent much of the last ten days doing more than just facilitating money transfers; they also played a crucial role in getting wages and remittances into people’s hands – in cash.
Big employers, he said, have workers who can’t get to work, waste hours and live paycheck to paycheck. By working with a lot of them, MoneyGram made mid-cycle cash payrolls just so people could put money in the market by putting it in the hands of these employees.
It’s a big job today, he said, that won’t end anytime soon, as recovery from natural disasters can take place for months after media coverage ceases.
“There will be new constructions, new people will come into the region to work and a lot of funds will be donated by the population. Our question is, how can we help these people through pricing so that it can work as a long term benefit for everyone? “
It won’t be easy. Houston is not only the fourth largest city in the country, Ohser said, it is also the most diverse in terms of the number of different origins it contains. Creating long-term profit for everyone is difficult when everyone is heterodox.
MoneyGram is still thinking about how to meet the needs of a larger group anyway – which is why MobilePass is being rolled out system-wide. Because, whether customers use cash out of choice or out of necessity, MoneyGram believes funds should be easy to access – and that everyone should have a choice of how it’s done.