Ever been faced with the challenge of paying more money as service charges on remittance than the actual money you want to send across to family or friends from around Africa? Worry not, sending and receiving money has been made easier with Mama Money.
The cost of sending money across borders from South Africa to, well, anywhere, is famously expensive. For those who are earning small salaries and have families based elsewhere, the costs are nothing short of exorbitant. Many of those who rely on international money transfer facilities are using their hard-earned cash to improve the lives of those they left at home but this money is eaten into with bank charges and cost pricing structures. It’s as vicious a pincer grip as any South African scorpion.
Enter Mama Money, a South African startup founded by Raphael Grojnowski and Mathieu Coquillon, to help people overcome the money transfer price tag. The company got its name from the African mothers who were often the most likely recipients of the money being sent across borders. Mama Money allows migrants in South Africa to make cross-border transfers to Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Malawi, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda and India with more countries to be added to the list in coming months.
The cost of sending money
There is a lot to be said for social disruptors like Mama Money, entrepreneurs and startups that address an injustice and improve the quality of life for others. It’s also worth glancing down the proverbial nose at the financial institutions that felt it was fine to charge low-income people high-income rates.
“South Africa is the most expensive country in the world to send money out of,” says Grojnowski. “According to the World Bank, the average cost to send around $200 from South Africa to SADC countries is 18.69% ‒ the global remittance price average is 8.9%. This inspired our development of Mama Money. We wanted to get into business to help others and we knew that there were millions of migrant workers in South Africa who send money home to their families, but battle with the transfer fees. We thought this presented a perfect opportunity to disrupt and help people get more money home.”
The selfie magic
Mama Money has also introduced a rather novel way of registering its customers with the Financial Intelligence Centre – the selfie! Rather than request users send reams of documents to prove that they are who they say they are so they can send money to family in other countries, Mama Money now only needs a photo of a user’s ID or passport and a selfie of the user holding that document.
Financial services in South Africa are very difficult to access for migrants who are earning money from informal jobs. Mama Money is there to help to send money back to their families easily and affordably. This new registration process eliminates requesting documentation that they don’t have.
With more exciting financial service in the pipeline for the financially unserved, Mama Money is one to keep an eye on.
For more information about the company, the Mama Money website is a great place to start.