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Xoom Starts Money transfers to mobile wallets in 12 African countries

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Xoom Starts Money transfers to mobile wallets in 12 African countries, SiliconNigeria

Xoom, PayPal’s money transfer service, announced that the company’s customers in the US, UK, Canada and Europe can now send secure and convenient money transfers directly to mobile wallets in key markets across Africa with a focus on the underbanked segment.

This new service expands the company’s offering to send money to mobile wallets in Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—with plans to include more markets in 2021.

Mobile money services are being deployed rapidly across emerging markets as a key tool to further the goal of financial inclusion. Financial inclusion is instrumental in lifting the undeserved population out of poverty—and for driving economic growth. In 2019, the number of globally registered mobile money accounts surpassed the one billion mark.

In Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe, over 60 percent of adults have mobile money accounts. This new service expands Xoom’s offerings in Africa as the current service already enables money transfers for cash pick-up, direct banks deposits and mobile reloads to 41 countries in Africa.

“Sending money to Africa through traditional channels has always been expensive. We wanted to help bring down the cost and speed up the process to boost financial inclusion,” said Julian King, Vice President and General Manager, Xoom.

“There is nowhere else in the world that moves more money on mobile phones than Sub-Saharan Africa. While there are only five bank branches per 100,000 people as of 2019[2, there are 1.04 billion registered mobile money accounts in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

The cost of sending money through traditional channels to Africa is one of the most expensive in the world, with an average cost of 9.3 percent. The cost of sending $200 to the Sub-Saharan African region averaged 9 percent in 2018 and in the southern African subregion, the average cost was 18.7 percent, almost three times higher than the global average according to the World Bank.

Xoom is helping to bring down the cost to significantly with average costs of sending money to mobile wallets in select African markets ranging from 2-4% of the transaction.

A pioneer in digital remittances, Xoom is a fast and secure way to send money, pay bills and reload phones for loved ones in over 160 countries globally. These remittances serve as a lifeline for many people around the world and are used to pay for things like utility bills, healthcare, education costs and emergencies.

The largely cash-based system of sending money to Africa via traditional channels can be full of paperwork, high fees, standing in line and an ever-present uncertainty of when, and if, the money will arrive when it’s needed.

By providing fast and secure payment options for customers to seamlessly send money to Africa by using a mobile device, PayPal and Xoom are helping to expand and improve the financial health of millions of people in the African continent. 

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IT in Banking

9PSB Will Drive Financial Innovation Among Youths And Women- CEO

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9PSB Will Drive Financial Innovation Among Youths And Women- CEO, SiliconNigeria

L-R: Mr. Mohammed Edewor, Board Member 9PSB; Mr. Asega Aliga Board Member 9PSB; His Highness Emir of Bichi, Alhaji Nasir Ado Bayero and Branka Mracajac, CEO 9PSB at the launch of 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB) in Lagos State recently.

The CEO of 9PSB, Branka Mracajac said the goal of 9PSB to drive financial innovation, especially among the youth and women across Nigeria.

She said the key mitigating strategy that would aid 9PSB in fulfilling the financial inclusion mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria is by offering compelling products, seamless execution and excellent customer service.

“Financial innovation plays a unique role in fostering sustainable and equitable growth primarily among the unbanked and underbanked within the rural areas in Nigeria, and I am very optimistic that 9PSB will drive financial innovation, especially among the youth and women across Nigeria. This is our goal at 9PSB. It is also why we are here. It is the difference we are committed to making in the Nigerian financial sector,” she said.

While acknowledging the impact of infrastructure deficit and geographical coverage limitations on progress made so far towards achieving financial inclusion in Nigeria, Branka said that the key mitigating strategy that 9PSB is bringing to the table is to create synergies between agent banking as an important driver of financial inclusion and a superior product mix.

Explaining further, Branka said, “9PSB will deploy a wide distribution network that will serve as a channel for financial education for rural and low-income consumers. This will enable them to conduct basic banking services like cash-in and cash-out transactions.”

The Nigerian banking sector has been set on a new innovative course with the launch of a digital lifestyle bank, 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB), the first of its kind in the financial industry.  

Established with the aim of furthering financial inclusion in the country and providing financial services to Nigerians, who were previously excluded, the entrance of 9PSB as a digital lifestyle bank is designed to address critical challenges facing bank customers.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the launch of 9PSB, seasoned Fintech analysts and journalist such as Ashley Immanuel, Tunji Andrews, Tracia Ikponmwonba and Adejuwon Soyinka, offered suggestion that could bolster financial literacy and inclusion in rural and urban areas of Nigeria. The theme of the panel discussion was “Examining the challenges facing Nigerian banks and payment industry and how 9PSB can revolutionize the financial sector.”

9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB) in its uniqueness will leverage on its existing mobile and digital channels, offering a first of its kind wide network of agents as well as web and digital applications and physical structures to provide financial consumers with an experience novel to the Nigerian populace.

In his goodwill message at the event, Chairman Board of Directors, EMTS, parent company of 9PSB, HRH, Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero, stated that the launch of 9PSB is the beginning of an exciting chapter in the company’s growth agenda.

“We see 9PSB as yet another opportunity to serve 59 million unbanked adults through the deployment of financial services that will leverage on top mobile technology and distribution network to support the financial inclusion efforts of the Federal Government,” he said.

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Africa Region

Airtel Africa Reports $851m Revenue As Subscribers Hit 111.5m in Q1

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Airtel Africa Reports $851m Revenue As Subscribers Hit 111.5m, SiliconNigeria

Airtel Africa has reported a good start to the year, with constant currency revenue growth of 13 per cent despite impact from Covid-19 on the global telecom space.

It reported a rise in profit and revenue as it grew its customer base 11.8 per cent in the first quarter of its fiscal year to 111.5 million. Operating profit increased by 12.9 per cent to $210 million and revenue increased by 6.9 per cent to $851 million on-year. 

 Underlying EBITDA increased by 7.9 per cent to $375 million, with constant currency growth of14.6 per cent. Free cash flow was $96 million compared to $62 million in the same period last year. Earnings per share (EPS) before exceptional items was $1.0 cents and basic EPS was $1.1 cents.

Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer, on the trading update: “During last quarter our business was impacted by the Covid-19pandemic, as restrictions on movements of people and ways of socializing were introduced to contain the spread of infection.

“In these unprecedented times, we have worked with governments, regulators, partners, and suppliers to keep customers and businesses connected as well as supporting the economies and communities. We focused on expanding and maintaining our network to ensure it could cope with increasing demand, we kept our distribution up and running by increasing the penetration of digital recharges and stock levels, and we expanded our home broadband solutions to ensure customers could work and access entertainment remotely.

“Covid-19 impacted customer usage pattern, particularly during the month of April, however, as some of these restrictions started to be lifted, customer usage trends in May and June returned to being broadly consistent with pre Covid-19 trends. The Group’s performance generally reflected these trends, with revenue growth accelerating in May, and we ended the quarter with 13 per cent revenue growth and 61bps of EBITDA margin expansion in constant currency.

“The business showed its resilience even during these unprecedented circumstances with all key business segments-voice, data and mobile money, and all regions-Nigeria, East Africa and Francophone Africa contributing to growth.

“During the quarter we also increased our support of the communities where we operate by providing financial support towards essential workers, free data for educational purposes and we worked together with governments to temporarily waive fees on certain mobile money transactions.

 We also created an exciting partnership with UNICEF to provide children with access to remote learning and enable access to cash assistance for their families via mobile cash transfers. The outlook remains uncertain, particularly regarding a so called potential second wave of infections and the actions governments will decide to take in that event.

“However, these results are further evidence of the growth opportunities our markets offer and the effectiveness of our strategy to focus on winning customers, investing in our network and expanding our voice, data and mobile money businesses.”

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Breaking News

Orange Unfolds Mobile Banking Plan for West Africa

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Orange Unfolds Mobile Banking Plan for West Africa, SiliconNigeria

Orange teamed with financial services company NSIA to launch mobile banking services into its first African market, Ivory Coast, with plans to expand into Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal.

Under the Orange Bank Africa brand, the company will provide savings and credit facilities to customers of its existing mobile money product. Small loans start at XOF5,000 ($8.83) with savings offering 3.5 per cent annual interest, subject to terms.

The service will be completely mobile-based, as with the operator’s Orange Bank in France and Spain.

Its Africa version is primarily aimed at the large number of people which do not, or are excluded from, traditional banking channels in its markets. In a statement, the company noted it aimed to “become a leader in ensuring financial inclusion in West Africa”.

Orange chairman and CEO Stephane Richard added: “Banking is a new area of business for Orange in Africa. It falls squarely in line with our strategy as a multi-service operator and our desire to drive the digital transformation forward in Africa.”

The operator’s partner in the launch, NSIA, is an Africa-focused financial services provider which runs a number of insurance, banking and broker brands.

Orange Bank Africa will be provided alongside Orange Money, which offers traditional cash-in, cash-out and mobile payment services in 18 of its markets.

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