Money transfer giant Western Union is trying to hit back at mobile upstarts and larger rivals taking aim at its core business.

The company launched its WU Connect platform which embeds its money transfer capability into third-party messaging or social media platforms.

The company said its platform will be made available to what it termed “strategic global messaging, social and other digital networks”, without naming names.

Market leaders Western Union and Moneygram have seen their position under attack from newcomers such as Azimo, Xendpay and WorldRemit, which offer to undercut the industry giants.

In addition, leading messaging players such as Daum Kakao and Viber have either entered the market, or are mulling a move into money transfer. So has Facebook, which carries payments between its US users. The social media giant is the kind of partner Western Union has in mind for WU Connect. Signing up such a partner could preserve its market share.

Consumers can pay for a transfer via WU Connect using a debit, credit card or a bank account. The funds are directed to a Western Union agent, mobile wallet or bank account at the recipient’s end.

Western Union’s platform offers a set of APIs which it says enables rapid deployment of domestic and cross-border payment capability.