Somaliland: World Remit grabbing market share

Somaliland: World Remit grabbing market share
Somaliland: World Remit grabbing market share

A solution originally aimed at a very distinct slice of the marketplace is now a rapidly growing mobile money transfer platform with one of the top money transfer apps in Canada.

World Remit Country Director for Canada Richard Meseko explained the company began as a digital money transfer platform with an emphasis on migrant workers wishing to send money back home via a mobile app or their tablet or laptop.

Founder Ismail Ahmed put two decades of experience into World Remit, Mr. Meseko explained. He worked with the United Nations Remittance Program assisting African money transfer companies adjust to new anti-money laundering rules after 9/11. Mr. Ahmed also researched the effect of remittances in Somaliland following that country’s civil war.

“That knowledge allowed him to set up World Remit,” Mr. Meseko said.

Like many fin-tech entrepreneurs, Mr. Ahmed had personal experience with the problem he aimed to solve. When living in London Mr. Ahmed needed to send money to family. It was a cumbersome process, with Mr. Ahmed traveling across the city to a money transfer office, the fare sometimes being higher than the amount he was sending.

“He wanted to take full control of the remittance process and remove the intermediaries,” Mr. Meekest said.

Important in the design was low fees which allow people to send money more often.

“He knew from personal experience there are many migrant workers wanting to send whatever they could afford (on a regular basis) but couldn’t because of the exorbitant fees charged by the major players.”

The money goes from the sender though several channels before it reaches the recipient, Mr. Meseko explained. Multiple fees at every stop reduce transparency and force the sender to save hundreds of dollars before it becomes feasible to make a transfer. World Remit fees begin at $2.99 with a guaranteed foreign exchange rate and payment on local currency.

“With low fees and guaranteed exchange rates what you see on the screen is ultimately what is paid on the other end,” Mr. Meseko said. “People can pay with credit card, visa debit and the interact online payment system.”

Recipients in more than 130 destination countries can pick up cash at partner companies or have it send to their bank account or e-wallet.

“That is a very innovative payment receipt option,” Mr. Meseko offered. “We are the flagship of that particular service.”

Given Mr. Ahmed’s background World Remit has very strong compliance procedures, no small feat when your business is ensuring people safely get money in more than 130 jurisdictions.

“We watch many things at once in the system,” Mr. Meseko said. “We invested a lot in setting up the online process.”

Proper identification is fundamental to security, Mr. Meseko added. Users are matched to some of the information they initially provided. Different payment methods also have their own verification such as security codes or additional passwords.

Customer protection is a continuous process, Mr. Meseko said.

“Continually state of the art to ensure all aspects of the process are protected and fool proof.”

World Remit also uses Jumio authentication which can help users who have not updated their information after a move, for example. Take a picture of your new identification, upload, and the technology will match you with your stored information.