MoneyGram International Inc. said Monday that it is working with Smart Communications Inc., a unit of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., to launch a mobile phone money transfer service in the Philippines.

The service is being tested starting this week with MoneyGram agents in San Diego and Hong Kong. Consumers in those locations can visit agents to send money to people in the Philippines that have a Smart Money account on their mobile phones. MoneyGram, of Minneapolis, separately has more than 7,000 locations in the Philippines and allows users there to receive payments in U.S. dollars.

"This partnership gives MoneyGram access to more than 39 million Smart subscribers in the Philippines and extends the benefits of our safe and reliable money transfer services to a new category of consumers," John Hempsey, executive vice president for MoneyGram's Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific regions, said in a press release Monday.