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WorldRemit, an online money transfer service, and MTN, the giant telecoms operator, have entered into a global partnership that will enable WorldRemit customers to send payment instantly to MTN’s Mobile Money customers. The partnership will add MTN’s 22 million mobile money customers in 16 countries across the continent to the group which is targeting the multibillion-dollar African market.
The partnership will benefit customers and save them money. According to Overseas Development Institute, a UK’s leading independent think tank, the African mobile payment market is among the most expensive in the world, with average transfer rates of 12% and excess fees costing the continent US$1.8-billion a year. WorldRemit, by comparison, takes about five per cent slice of transactions.
Pieter Verkade, MTN Group Chief Commercial Officer, said that “The partnership with WorldRemit is yet another important step in our journey to enable the affordable transfer of monies across borders. Our remittance strategy places the customer at the heart of any offer we introduce as MTN and, working with WorldRemit, we intend to further extend the convenience of MTN Mobile Money to our customers.”
MTN Mobile Money is an important part of MTN’s service offering, and the partnership with WorldRemit further enables to consolidate the operator’s position in cross border payments.
Ismail Ahmed, Founder and CEO of WorldRemit said of the deal: “Mobile Money is rapidly displacing cash as a way of receiving money from friends and family abroad. WorldRemit’s partnership with MTN allows our customers around the world to send money instantly to MTN Mobile Money users.
“As well as being fast and convenient, MTN Mobile Money is reaching millions of people who don’t have bank accounts, giving them access to a variety of life-enhancing financial services including savings and insurance schemes.”
WorldRemit uses smartphones and cloud based technologies to make it cheaper and easier to send money and it does not rely on banks or third parties such as news agents and corner shops.
More than 50% of all WorldRemit transfers to Africa are received as mobile money or phone credit, the company said.
WorldRemit also has a wide reach, with people sending money in more than 50 countries and receive it in more than 110, in the form of bank deposits, money in mobile wallets, phone credit or cash. It facilitates about 200,000 transactions a month, and is expanding throughout the US. Just last year the company raised US$40-million in from venture capitalists including Accel Partners.
The first countries to be added to WorldRemit’s list of mobile recipient options will be Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia, with additional countries following soon after.