Starting from Hungary and gradually adding other Eastern European markets in the next months, Viber will be rolling out money transfer service within its messaging app. The new service, called Moneytou, has been developed in Hungary, by a company NeoPay and as part of the Mastercard digital payments ecosystem, and will allow users to send and receive money immediately through the app.
“Our company’s goal in the first phase of expansion is to also appear in more than 25 million Rakuten Viber users’ apps in Ukraine, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria,” said Gergely Benda, NeoPay’s founder-executive in an official statement.
We’ve been hearing rumors about the peer-to-peer money transfer service of Viber for over a year now, but given the highly regulated space, it took some time for this to come to life. Indeed, Moneytou is a product of the collaboration of several partners – Mastercard, Rakuten Viber, Wirecard, and NeoPay.
Multiple cards, but not a wallet
Customers will be able to benefit from the speed of money transfers, with funds being transferred within a matter of minutes, including evening hours and weekends. The transferred amount will appear in the recipient’s balance and is immediately available to be spend by card or withdrawn in cash.
Customers will be able to register multiple cards in the Viber app and select the card to use for each transaction. To launch the app feature, consumers will need to tap a separate Moneytou icon within the Viber app. The transaction takes place between the cards of two private parties which means that Moneytou is not a “wallet” application, it does not have a balance; users do not need to deposit or withdraw money with or through the app, reads a description of the new service.
The messenger of CEE
Launching the new service, Viber makes another step towards dominating the messenger market in CEE. The Western part of Europe and the US have Messenger and WhatsApp. China has its WeChat, Russia and Latin America are dominated by WhatsApp. However, Viber that cost the Japanese giant Rakuten $900M back in 2014 and is doing a great job penetrating Central and Eastern Europe. As of September 2018, the app had over 1B users worldwide and claims it has surpassed WhatsApp in Russia. The latest data by Similarweb, shows that Viber is the number one messenger in Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Ukraine, and Belarus.
Pushing its privacy, encryption and not collecting any data as a USP, Viber generates revenues from fee-based services like long-distance calls to non-Viber users and from branded communication.