Migrant African workers are increasingly turning to bitcoin to send money home.
Katia Hilal's insight:
Will Kenya become the first virtual currency economy? The article does not explain how Bitcoins are eventually converted into real currency, who Kenya's Bitcoin agents are and how the transfer is settled between the sending and the receiving agents.
The Wincor World 2012 event took place from 16 – 18 October at the A2 Forum, Rheda-Wiedenbrück. Wincor Nixdorf and around 40 partners covered a wide range of topics in both the banking and the retail industries. In addition to ATMs, branch, self service, cash lifecycle management and retail solutions, Wincor showcased a variety of innovations and forward looking ideas such as biometric ATMs, mobile control of cash machines by smartphone using NFC technology and mobile money transfer.
GSMA has released a new case study which highlights early results from a promising new model for cross-border remittances. In this model, which is rapidly emerging across East and West Africa, mobile money is used as both the sending and the receiving channel. This paper draws insights from two early examples in the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU), where member states are socio-economically integrated and adoption of mobile money has been rapid in recent years.
Orange Money International Transfer links up Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal, and is the first example of mobile money transfers between three markets, enabling six distinct remittance corridors.The partnership between MTN Mobile Money in Côte d’Ivoire and Airtel Money in Burkina Faso is the first case of operators from separate groups agreeing to interoperate their mobile money services for international transfers through HomeSend.
Katia Hilal's insight:
The two studies reveal how big the untapped opportunities for inter African remittance are. In these two cases the countries involved belonged to the West African Economic Monetary Union and benefited from the support of the BCEAO, a common currency, and the existence of a common regulation.
The role that HomeSend played in the MTN/Airtel case is crucial: The two operators did not belong to the same group and did not share the same infrastructure. This partner was therefore able to play the role of the "glue". HomeSend's "hub" model was the best option for (a) connecting the two mobile money platforms within 3 months, (b) mediate the commercial negotiation and be ready for the service launch.
This model can also apply for interoperability between operators in the same country.
When different currencies are involved, the integration becomes more complex but HomeSend, in addition to managing real-time remittance messaging and AML, provides currency conversion and advice of charge services.
MasterCard (NYSE:MA), eServGlobal (LSE: ESG.L, ASX: ESV.AX) and BICS today announced the formation of HomeSend, a joint venture (JV) which will enable consumers to send money to and from mobile money accounts, payment cards, bank accounts or cash outlets -- regardless of their location or that of the recipient.
The HomeSend JV will leverage the current HomeSend platform, a remittance hub based on eServGlobal technology and developed as part of a strategic partnership between eServGlobal and BICS. The HomeSend platform was first to market in offering international mobile remittances. Today, HomeSend has live deployments in 50 countries and commercial contracts with mobile network operators (MNOs) and money transfer operators (MTOs) that represent more than 1.2 billion subscribers -- the equivalent of one in seven of the world's population -- and 200,000 cash agents respectively.
Katia Hilal's insight:
A great step for HomeSend to become the standard in mobile international remittance. Congratulations to all the team.
Vodafone is set to help more people without access to conventional banking by broadening the reach of its secure mobile money transfer service, M-Pesa. Vodafone will connect its affiliates to HomeSend, the mobile remittance hub of BICS and eServGlobal.
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