May 19, 2020

Xpress Money and Huawei team up to provide mobile money alternative to banking

huawei
Mobile banking
Xpress Money
Stuart Hodge
9 min
Xpress Money and Huawei team up to provide mobile money alternative to banking

With banking penetration still sitting at less than 50% across Africa, financial inclusion remains a key challenge facing the continent.

In certain geographies, conducting business remains a massive challenge due to the lack of banking services available, so an opportunity remains for companies to find new ways to exploit that, and to provide Africa with services which help to expand levels of banking penetration and financial inclusion.

Back in 2016, the World Bank reported that 2bn people across the globe had no access to formal financial services and an awareness of this has resulted in mobile money fast becoming a safer alternative to cash, particularly in some regions of Africa.

With precisely that in mind, global money transfer company Xpress Money has joined forces with telecoms giant Huawei to “drive mobile money services to more of the world’s unbanked”, especially in Africa.

The partnership will give the globally-respected remittance firm access to Huawei’s mobile money service platform, which has over 100mn accounts.

“For those that have limited access to formal banking services, mobile money is a critical technology,” says Sudhesh Giriyan, Chief Operating Officer of Xpress Money.

“There are over 500mn mobile money accounts currently in use, and with Huawei servicing over 100mn of these, we’re confident this collaboration will improve the state of financial services for Africa’s unbanked.”

Huawei’s mobile money services platform delivers basic banking transactions in developing countries. The technology is not restricted and because it works on both smartphones and basic handsets, it has been particularly successful in developing markets.

Recipients of Xpress Money remittances can use the service to make online and offline payments, pay for essential services such as utilities and school fees, as well as financial services like loan applications, insurance and banking.

“This partnership with Huawei is going to give us a much larger footprint,” says Giriyan. “We'll be able to expand the number of countries where we can put money onto mobile wallets. We'll also be able to bring in some new partners and start putting money onto mobile wallets through the Huawei partnership.

“Look at the banking penetration in some of these countries: it’s between 10% and 15%, which means that there is still a long, long way to build in financial inclusion. In the interim, until the time that happens, until banking penetration improves drastically, there is a major role that mobile wallet providers can play in terms of bringing international remittances into those markets.

With Huawei catering for around a fifth of the 500mn strong mobile wallet market, Giriyan is confident about the benefits of the deal.

“Through this partnership, we expect to reach out to a good percentage of these customers and be able to facilitate remittances, especially from North America and Europe, which have two of the largest markets from Africa in one perspective – the remittances will be sourced from North America as well as from the UK and Europe, and will go onto the mobile wallets of partners and of Huawei.”

That’s what Giriyan describes as ‘the game plan’, and Xpress Money expects to see growth in the African market, a region which is already a fairly strong one for the company, off the back of this partnership, as the COO explains.

“Africa has been one of the biggest recipients of remittances thanks to a large African diaspora that lives in markets like the US, UK, Europe, Canada, across some of the Middle East markets, even in Australia,” says Giriyan.

“As we have seen, the behaviour in the African segment is such that they regularly remit money back home to support their families. Look at Liberia and Egypt, which are among the top receiving countries in the world today. Look at Morocco, look at Algeria, look at Tunisia, look at Ghana, look at Kenya – all these countries depend on remittances. In fact, a good percentage of the GDP of these countries is made up by remittances. There are countries which are relying on remittances to the extent of 20-25%.

“Remittances have become a lifeline for many markets, and more so in some parts of Africa. Africa currently receives somewhere around $60bn from across the globe. So, Xpress Money is constantly looking at increasing its money share across the key African market. Be it North Africa, East, West or the South African belt, we are constantly looking at increasing our market share.

“With that intention, we are growing our channels. Years back, we used to only have cash remittances in most of the market, then we added account credit and then mobile wallet credit… so with this partnership with Huawei, definitely we'll be looking at enhancing our market share in the key African market.”

The importance of companies like Xpress Money in Africa cannot be underestimated. Businesses such as this are important in terms of helping trade to happen in parts of the world where challenges remain.

Xpress Money is aiming to be in every country on earth for cash remittances by the end of this year, and the Huawei partnership will play an important role in the company’s growth.

Giriyan is hopeful that, together, both companies can create some market disruption by bringing together their respective expertise and services in a way which suits potential customers.

“In Africa today, compared to any other region, mobile wallet credits are in great demand,” he says. “The best examples of this are countries like Kenya and Tanzania. There is a lot happening in markets like Rwanda, Ghana and, going forward, it'll happen in Nigeria as well. That is something which we see a lot when we get inquiries from our customers. For example, when a Kenyan walks into any of the locations, invariably he or she wants money to be sent to mobile wallet in Kenya.

“So, because of the partnership that we have entered into with Huawei, we'll look at countries where we can roll out these agreements and once they go live in a particular country, with a particular partner, we'll definitely look at promoting this channel, which is sending money into mobile wallet.”

With banking penetration still sitting at less than 50% across Africa, financial inclusion remains a key challenge facing the continent.

In certain geographies, conducting business remains a massive challenge due to the lack of banking services available, so an opportunity remains for companies to find new ways to exploit that, and to provide Africa with services which help to expand levels of banking penetration and financial inclusion.

Back in 2016, the World Bank reported that 2bn people across the globe had no access to formal financial services and an awareness of this has resulted in mobile money fast becoming a safer alternative to cash, particularly in some regions of Africa.

With precisely that in mind, global money transfer company Xpress Money has joined forces with telecoms giant Huawei to “drive mobile money services to more of the world’s unbanked”, especially in Africa.

The partnership will give the globally-respected remittance firm access to Huawei’s mobile money service platform, which has over 100mn accounts.

“For those that have limited access to formal banking services, mobile money is a critical technology,” says Sudhesh Giriyan, Chief Operating Officer of Xpress Money.

“There are over 500mn mobile money accounts currently in use, and with Huawei servicing over 100mn of these, we’re confident this collaboration will improve the state of financial services for Africa’s unbanked.”

Huawei’s mobile money services platform delivers basic banking transactions in developing countries. The technology is not restricted and because it works on both smartphones and basic handsets, it has been particularly successful in developing markets.

Recipients of Xpress Money remittances can use the service to make online and offline payments, pay for essential services such as utilities and school fees, as well as financial services like loan applications, insurance and banking.

“This partnership with Huawei is going to give us a much larger footprint,” says Giriyan. “We'll be able to expand the number of countries where we can put money onto mobile wallets. We'll also be able to bring in some new partners and start putting money onto mobile wallets through the Huawei partnership.

“Look at the banking penetration in some of these countries: it’s between 10% and 15%, which means that there is still a long, long way to build in financial inclusion. In the interim, until the time that happens, until banking penetration improves drastically, there is a major role that mobile wallet providers can play in terms of bringing international remittances into those markets.

With Huawei catering for around a fifth of the 500mn strong mobile wallet market, Giriyan is confident about the benefits of the deal.

“Through this partnership, we expect to reach out to a good percentage of these customers and be able to facilitate remittances, especially from North America and Europe, which have two of the largest markets from Africa in one perspective – the remittances will be sourced from North America as well as from the UK and Europe, and will go onto the mobile wallets of partners and of Huawei.”

That’s what Giriyan describes as ‘the game plan’, and Xpress Money expects to see growth in the African market, a region which is already a fairly strong one for the company, off the back of this partnership, as the COO explains.

“Africa has been one of the biggest recipients of remittances thanks to a large African diaspora that lives in markets like the US, UK, Europe, Canada, across some of the Middle East markets, even in Australia,” says Giriyan.

“As we have seen, the behaviour in the African segment is such that they regularly remit money back home to support their families. Look at Liberia and Egypt, which are among the top receiving countries in the world today. Look at Morocco, look at Algeria, look at Tunisia, look at Ghana, look at Kenya – all these countries depend on remittances. In fact, a good percentage of the GDP of these countries is made up by remittances. There are countries which are relying on remittances to the extent of 20-25%.

“Remittances have become a lifeline for many markets, and more so in some parts of Africa. Africa currently receives somewhere around $60bn from across the globe. So, Xpress Money is constantly looking at increasing its money share across the key African market. Be it North Africa, East, West or the South African belt, we are constantly looking at increasing our market share.

“With that intention, we are growing our channels. Years back, we used to only have cash remittances in most of the market, then we added account credit and then mobile wallet credit… so with this partnership with Huawei, definitely we'll be looking at enhancing our market share in the key African market.”

The importance of companies like Xpress Money in Africa cannot be underestimated. Businesses such as this are important in terms of helping trade to happen in parts of the world where challenges remain.

Xpress Money is aiming to be in every country on earth for cash remittances by the end of this year, and the Huawei partnership will play an important role in the company’s growth.

Giriyan is hopeful that, together, both companies can create some market disruption by bringing together their respective expertise and services in a way which suits potential customers.

“In Africa today, compared to any other region, mobile wallet credits are in great demand,” he says. “The best examples of this are countries like Kenya and Tanzania. There is a lot happening in markets like Rwanda, Ghana and, going forward, it'll happen in Nigeria as well. That is something which we see a lot when we get inquiries from our customers. For example, when a Kenyan walks into any of the locations, invariably he or she wants money to be sent to mobile wallet in Kenya.

“So, because of the partnership that we have entered into with Huawei, we'll look at countries where we can roll out these agreements and once they go live in a particular country, with a particular partner, we'll definitely look at promoting this channel, which is sending money into mobile wallet.”

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