The same company that brought us the Xperia Arc is also entering the financial services industry. The new company, Ericsson Money wants you to ditch Western Union but with a few conditions.

It’s a one-way street — you can only open an Ericsson Money account if you are in Germany, UK, Italy, France, Poland, Spain and Sweden.

I tried opening an account (just to test it) and maybe send money to my relatives in the province but I’m locked out. It’s pretty obvious that the service is targeted towards OFWs in those countries since they’ve partnered with Globe and Smart for the local exchange (you receive money transfers from Ericsson Money via Smart Money or Globe GCash).

And if the tutorials videos they put up on their website tells it all, the service isn’t much different from the likes of Western Union. In any case, this is more like a battle for who offers the cheapest remittance rates and who can remit the money the fastest.

The Central Bank of the Philippines estimates a total of $18.7 billion in OFW remittances for the year 2010. Getting just 1% market share is already huge (Php8 billion) and I’m thinking Ericsson knows that already.

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