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SA fintech makes FICA simple

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The South African-based fintech startup that offers cheap cross-border money transfer rates into key African countries, and now into India, has introduced an easy online registration process using its app — taking a photo and a selfie.
Mama Money believes that this process, approved by the Financial Intelligence Centre and the South African Reserve Bank, is a first in South Africa.
Raphael Grojnowski, co-founder of Mama Money, explains: “To register, you simply download the Mama Money Family App from the Google Play store, enter you contact details, take a photo of your passport or ID and a selfie holding the document. This is all that’s needed to register to begin sending money home. The whole process takes less than three minutes.
“Financial services in South Africa are very difficult to access for migrants who are earning money from informal jobs. We help them to send money back to their families easily and affordably. Our new registration process eliminates requesting documentation that they don’t have. It offers the option to self-register via the app. This is in addition to the current options to register in person at a PEP store, or with a Mama Money agent.”
Grojnowski says that this new addition is also more convenient for higher income foreign nationals living in South Africa, and employers of foreigners who can now register their employees online.
Since Mama Money was launched in March 2015 to allow cross border payments from South Africa to Zimbabwe, it has expanded to include Nigeria, Malawi, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda and India. Mama Money’s low rate of 5% with no margin charged on the exchange rate has remained the same since inception.
Says Grojnowski: “We have seen tremendous growth in all the corridors. Our business has tripled in size since March this year and we now have 100 000 customers. This growth can be attributed to our agent network and educating migrants about safely sending money they earn in South Africa back home. We currently employ 783 agents and expect to have 1 000 agents by the end of the year.”
Mama Money is a gold member of AlphaCode, a Rand Merchant Investments (RMI) club for fintech startup entrepreneurs.
RMI’s senior investment executive and head of AlphaCode, Dominique Collett, says: “Mama Money is solving a significant problem in a large market. According to research done by the World Bank, the remittance corridors between South Africa and the rest of SADC are some of the most expensive in the world.
“World Bank data illustrates that the global average for sending remittances was estimated at 7% with South Africa being more than double than at 16%. Mama Money’s rapid growth highlights how important their product is to these migrant communities and demonstrates how fintech can be leveraged for social inclusion.”