For a long time, cross-border transactions for Africans have been a constant source of pain.
While the rest of the world keeps progressing towards a tight-knit global economy, the African continent has, more or less, been left behind.
Femi Nathaniel is a Nigerian, who relocated as a graduate student to the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Like many other Nigerians, sending money back home to his mum has always been a daunting task.
"When I tried to send money to my mum in Nigeria, I couldn't use PayPal because it doesn't credit your naira account. Other cross-border methods could shave off as high as 9% of the value of my money," he said in an interview to Benjamindada.com.
Regarding restrictions, most platforms used for international transactions such as WorldRemit, PayPal and Payoneer are either completely unavailable to Africans or limited.
For example, PayPal allows Nigerian users to send but block them from receiving money.
Conversely, WorldRemit does the complete opposite, allowing Nigerians to receive from other countries but preventing them from sending.
Also, the completion time for these payment methods can take from hours to days before the transaction is completed. In addition, the charges Africans have to pay are often higher than the global average charge.
In recent years, African entrepreneurs are taking the bull by the horn and connecting the continent back to the global economy. While the journey towards solving cross-border transactions is a long one, some startups are already made some significant strides.
These startups are enabling Nigerians and other Africans to send and receive money from different corners of the globe. The startups are Afriex, Kyshi, Send by Flutterwave, Lemonade Finance and Africhange.
Fintech apps that help Nigerians send and receive money from abroad
Afriex is a multi-currency transfer app that allows users to send and receive money from anywhere in the world. The Nigerian blockchain-based transfer app was founded in 2019 by Tope Alabi and John Obirije.
With Afriex, you can send and receive money from the U.S., U.K., Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Canada. Money can be sent from the app through a debit card, bank account or to other Afriex users. Afriex does not charge for transfers, but charges for withdrawals. The maximum amount you can send in a day is $3,000.
Kyshi is a fintech company that provides a platform for Africans to transact money across borders. The fintech startup runs a peer-to-peer system that allows users to easily send and swap money between the UK, US, and up to 20 other African countries.
Nicknamed the neo-bank for Africans, Kyshi was founded in 2020 by Ayo Akindele. The payment startup fees are flexible depending on a host of factors, but it’s not more than 3%. Kyshi also charges zero setup and maintenance fees.
Send by Flutterwave
Send is powered by Flutterwave - a Nigerian fintech company. With Send, users can easily make instant money transfers to recipients in various countries in the UK, the US, Nigeria, Kenya and 25 other countries.
Send enables transfer options to local bank accounts, Mobile Money wallets, and Barter accounts, as well as cash pick-up locations. The money transfer solution was launched in December 2021 by Flutterwave. The service charge for transactions on Send is 1%.
Lemonade Finance is a digital bank for the African diaspora. The financial technology company provides users with accounts in their country of residence and country of origin for personal and business banking needs.
Users of the Lemonade app can send and receive money from over 20 countries (which include Canada, the UK, the US, Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda) at zero fees. The YC-backed startup was founded in 2020 by Olalere Ridwan and Rian Cochran. Lemonade has a weekly transfer limit of £5,000 ($5,906), which is an average of $846 daily.
Africhange is a money transfer platform that provides users with an easy way to send money to and from across Africa and North America. The borderless remittance app currently serves users in Canada, USA, Mexico, Nigeria and Ghana.
On Africhange, you can send money within minutes at a low cost and at the best exchange rate to your friends and family. The startup was founded by Tega Ogigirigi in December 2020. Africhange has a daily transfer limit of CAD 9500 ($7,158) and is available between 5 countries in Africa and North America.
Payday is a remittance App that enables swift borderless online payment services for Africa. The app was launched in July 2021 by Favour Ori and Dr. Rex Idaminabo.
Although available to all Africans, the app is headquartered in Rwanda and located in Canada, the USA and the UK. The daily transfer limit on your account is $10,000 per day. With Payday, you get a wallet that can accept international transfers and a virtual card to spend anywhere you wish.
Grey was founded in July 2021 by Idorenyin Obong (CEO) and Femi Aghedo (COO) as an instant exchange service. Grey finance provides foreign banking services to Nigerians, Kenyans and Tanzanians.
It allows users to open foreign bank accounts in United States Dollar (USD), British Pound (GBP), and Euro (EUR). They can also send money to the UK and Europe and receive payments from over 88 countries.
As e-payments continue to gain momentum and adoption in Nigeria and the rest of Africa, more fintech apps will keep building to expand the scope of the cross-border payment infrastructure that connects Africa to the rest of the globe.
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