Western Union Co. and Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank have launched a global money transfer and bill payment service that will also allow customers to send money to load prepaid cards and pay bills at more than 1,500 bank agent location in the southeastern U.S.

The agreement also allows consumers to send funds from SunTrust locations to more than 495,000 Western Union agent locations in 200 countries, the companies announced Jan. 9.

"Western Union was a natural choice for collaboration as it gives us more options to serve our communities," Beverly Ladley, consumer products and lending executive at SunTrust Bank, states in the press release.

The partnership is an example of how Western Union is adding more choices for consumers, says Carter Hunt, senior vice president and general manager in the U.S. for Western Union.

Western Union says its services are offered in the U.S. through a combined agent network of nearly 46,000 banks, national retail and grocery chains, and independent locations. The company also offers its customers online and mobile phone access points in certain countries for money transfer services.

In 2012, 70 million consumers used Western Union to send money to more than 200 countries and territories in 120 currencies, Western Union says.

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