— WorldRemit (@WorldRemit) October 21, 2020
The COVID-19 crisis has so far had a positive effect on the growth of the Zimbabwean remittance and money transfer company Mukuru who is looking to extend its footprint across Southern Africa and has already reached over seven million customers worldwide.
“Despite the economic and political hardships in the region, which have been deepened by the global pandemic, Mukuru remittance flows across African borders have remained remarkably resilient in recent months – highlighting not only the growing trust in both physical and digital money transfers but also the lifeline that remittances are providing to many families and communities at this time,” said Makuru’s CEO Andy Jury.
In Zimbabwe, Mukuru is dominating the market. The company has seen a 20-fold increase in monthly transactions within Zimbabwe over the past few months and almost half of Mukuru’s new South African sign ups have come via digital self-sign ups.
“With more and more digital access points over USSD, WhatsApp and the Mukuru App, for instance, customers are becoming increasingly comfortable with things like self-sign up, including digital KYC (know your customer) and onboarding, which is not only raising our brand presence, but is shifting customers much closer to financial inclusion and higher levels of financial transaction sophistication,” Jury added.
The development of mobile phone technology in South Africa gave rise to the usage of mobile phone payment methods that are currently present in the SA’s market such as e-wallets: EcoPayz, Neteller and Skrill. And even Pay By Phone using a simple SMS, with the latest data encryption technology that keeps your personal details and banking information completely secure, and is often used for very different online services – from paying for a parking spot to paying a casino bill by phone.
Mukuru’s growth is also a consequence of the fact that the company is oriented towards providing affordable and reliable financial services to underserved communities. In fact, the company specifically states that it exists as a remittances company to empower migrants, typically excluded from mainstream financial services, to move money in a convenient, safe and affordable way
In June 2020 Mukuru formed a partnership with global financial services firm WorldRemit. This alliance enabled customers in over 50 countries to send money to their loved ones in Zimbabwe who are in need of financial resources as the corona-virus pandemic draws out. Beneficiaries can collect their WorldRemit remittance at any of Mukuru’s 150+ orange booths and multiple branches located across Zimbabwe in both rural and peri-urban areas. Some of the countries where the service is available are the United Kingdom, Australia, United States, Canada, New Zealand, as well as EU countries.
After initially launching the service in Zimbabwe, the partnership will expand the seamless cash remittances into Zambia, SA, Mozambique, Malawi and Botswana. This collaboration will enable customers to benefit from guaranteed cash at all times, and there will be no cash-out charges to recipients on cash collections. Also, the cash pick up service is operational six days a week and customers will not have to endure long queues.
Andy Jury said of the partnership: “Is yet another step in growing our vision of providing our customers with financial services that are easily accessible and convenient. Through this partnership, we have an opportunity to make remittance payments accessible to WorldRemit customers in remote areas through our extended booth network. We also guarantee cash availability at our booths with zero charges to the recipient when they collect their cash, so the recipient receives the full remittance sent to them.”
Mukuru’s growth has been cemented by dynamic regional partnerships, and strengthening relationships with regulators, major banks and other remittance and money transfer providers. Some of the company’s partners include PEP Malawi, OK and Metro Peech & Browne in Zimbabwe, Standard Bank in Mozambique and Krishi Bank in Bangladesh.
“Our mission is to meet customers where they are most comfortable transacting – and our technical expertise and innovation continually reflects Mukuru’s commitment to empowering and supporting the end-user. Importantly, this is a journey and not a destination – and we continue to innovate across all of our platforms, which is highlighted by the fact that we are one of the few financial services providers in Southern Africa to give customers a choice of transacting via an app, USSD and/or WhatsApp. These new capabilities reflect our commitment to the financial freedom of our customers, and making life easier no matter what circumstances they face.” Jury concluded.