Payment innovations are changing all over the world with growing objectives to make payments more efficient and at even lower costs – and Kenya is an example to the world that digital financial inclusion is possible. Mobile money has over the years proven to be faster, more secure and a more efficient way to transfer money.
Since its birth 10 years ago, M-Pesa has been at the forefront in enhancing economic development for the big and small alike. The value of mobile money transfer in Kenya has had a multiplier impact on the lives of people drawn from the financial system where even the poor living in remote access areas with very little knowledge in finance or banking, have had considerable management in their cash flows, financial planning increase and an increase in the knowledge of savings. The same case applies to Kenyans living abroad.
International money transfer firm WorldRemit has released new data showing that transfers to mobile money accounts make up over 93% of the firm’s transactions to Kenya now – showing that Kenyans continue to be early adopters of innovative technology, even when abroad.
Mobile money has played a key role in the growth of WorldRemit’s Kenyan customer base, attracted by the low price, speed and convenience of sending instant remittances from the app or website directly to a mobile phone in Kenya. According to the firm, WorldRemit customers transferred more than Kshs 14 billion across borders with top remittance countries like the UK, United States of America. Australia, Germany and Canada topping the list.
Ismail Ahmed, Founder and CEO at WorldRemit, commented and said that the country has so far been famed for leading Africa’s digital transformation, and today it is Kenyans abroad who are at the forefront of digitizing international money transfers. As is being showcased in Kenya, mobile money is increasingly becoming the method of choice for sending and receiving money around the world and more countries are bound to adopt the service soon.
With an estimated three million Kenyans living and working abroad – with the numbers soon to increase – cross border payments such as mobile money transfers continue to be a vital system of sending and receiving cash from friends, family and loved ones as well as playing an important role in boosting the country’s economy. Inward remittances reached a record value of just under $161m in November 2016, according to the Central Bank of Kenya, making it one of the nation’s top earners.
The firm’s global headquarters which are in London, is now connected to over a fifth of all mobile money accounts – 112 million of 500 million mobile money accounts around the world. The company has also pioneered mobile to mobile remittances, sending to 32 mobile money services in 24 countries – more than any other money transfer service.
Globally, WorldRemit customers send more than 580,000 transfers every month to over 140 destinations. WorldRemit also makes sending money as easy as sending an instant message with most Kenyan customers for example, using the app, demonstrating the strong demand for convenience and ease when sending money to family and friends.