SOUTH AFRICA – Cape Town-based remittance and money transfer provider Mukuru with over seven million customers globally, is looking to extend its footprint across Southern Africa.

Founded in 2004 by Zimbabwean entrepreneur Rob Burrell, Mukuru allows affordable and reliable financial services to underserved communities.

Its remittance service offers customers the opportunity to send or receive money, with users in over 20 countries across Africa and Asia and their services include sending cash for collection, bank account top-up or mobile wallet transfers.

Additional offerings include funeral cover, the Mukuru Money Card and various payment solutions targeted at businesses in emerging markets.

Transactions can be conducted either physically at any of its network branches, or via its digital platforms, mobile app, USSD or WhatsApp.

While the company operates in over 20 countries, the mobile app is currently only available for download in SA and it is preparing to roll it out broadly across Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, the UK and EU over the next 12 months.

Mukuru also recently formed a partnership with global financial services firm WorldRemit, to bring seamless cash remittances into Zambia, SA, Mozambique, Malawi, and Botswana, having initially launched the service in Zimbabwe.

The partnership enables free cash collections for recipients who are collecting cash.

“As we grow our physical footprint in Southern Africa and bring our services to more people by way of booths and an entrepreneurial agent network, this growth is being complemented by the progressive digitisation of key steps in the Mukuru payments process”

Andy Jury – CEO, Mukuru

“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-signup, including digital know-your-customer and on-boarding, which is not only raising our brand presence, but is shifting customers that much closer to financial inclusion and higher levels of financial transaction sophistication.”

The COVID-19 crisis, according to Jury, has accelerated Mukuru’s progress, as more users seek safer, more convenient ways of transacting during the lockdowns.

Since the early days of the global pandemic and social restrictions in SA, almost half of Mukuru’s new South African signups have come via digital self-signups − indicating the appetite and need for such a capability.

The home-grown fintech firm says it has seen a 20-fold increase in monthly transactions within Zimbabwe over the past few months, as well as significant year-on-year financial growth, despite the global economic volatility.

Jury pointed out the 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 partnerships continue to be a source of both innovation and steady growth in the region, with our home-grown technology solutions continually evolving to meet the day-to-day needs of our customers. We meet customers wherever they are, which today includes a variety of both physical and digital touchpoints,” concluded Jury.

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