PayPal has strengthened its offline presence after the online payments giant linked up with MoneyGram to enable its customers to send and access their funds via the international money transfer service.

MoneyGram is the world’s second-largest global money transfer company, operating some 284,000 locations across 196 countries worldwide, and PayPal’s 177 million registered customers will be able to take advantage of its physical locations to cash-in and withdraw funds from their accounts without needing to be online.

“[The partnership] will provide consumers and businesses with an incredibly fast translation of cash to commerce and the service will be quick, secure and very user-friendly; a mobile number or email will be all a user needs,” the PayPal announcement says.

The tie-in will bring greater convenience to both businesses and regular consumers, and it certainly has potential for ‘unbanked’ people, i.e. those without credit cards and/or bank accounts.

For example, a PayPal user could load money into their account in order to use eBay or, equally, a merchant could gain access to (and withdraw) funds that they have accumulated through online selling without needing a bank account. The joining of the service will also be useful for parents sending kids money.

“We believe this agreement furthers our goal of making it easy for people to send and receive money in the ways they want, wherever they are in the world,” Pamela H. Patsley, MoneyGram chairman and CEO, said in a press release.

The services will come together through an initial pilot phase which is expected to take place in the US in early 2013. From there, PayPal says that the scheme will be rolled out across the country and beyond.

PayPal-owner eBay is going through a transitional period but the online payment system helped its parent by delivering a “strong third quarter performance”. Total revenue was up 23 percent year-on-year and net total payment volume (TPV) grew 20 percent to reach $35.2 billion.

Image via Getty Images / Sean Gallup