TerraPay joins forces with MoneyTrans and Paga to make cross border remittance easy between Europe and Nigeria

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With our commitment to providing financial inclusion, we are pleased to announce our partnership with MoneyTrans; a leading Money Transfer company and TerraPay; a mobile-first international payment network to launch cross-border remittances from Spain to mobile wallets in Nigeria.

Now Nigerians in Spain can send money to any mobile phone number in Nigeria through Paga, just by visiting the nearest MoneyTrans store. The recipient can withdraw money from more than 11,000 Paga agents across Nigeria or make card-less withdrawal from ATMs. The recipient can also use the money to pay bills, buy airtime or send the money to any other phone number or bank account in Nigeria, among other services.

The mobile based cross-border remittance service has been launched in Spain and will be followed by successive launches in Belgium, France and Italy in the coming weeks.  To mark this occasion, Mr. Jeremy De Smet, COO of MoneyTrans said, “We are glad to take another huge step in enabling mobile money services in Africa. TerraPay is well positioned to offer a strong solution building upon and leveraging a major technical infrastructure that has been in place for many years in Africa.”

Commenting on the partnership Jay Alabraba, Co-founder Paga said, “We are happy to collaborate with TerraPay and MoneyTrans in enabling secure transfers between Spain and Nigeria, the first of several important remittance corridors we will be launching together. By combining Paga’s extensive reach with the proven capabilities of TerraPay and MoneyTrans in the international remittance space, we are bringing to market a seamless and easy-to-use facility for Nigerians at home and in the diaspora.”

“Nigeria presents a wide array of opportunities for companies like TerraPay, as it is the biggest remittances receiver in Africa”, said Ambar Sur, Founder and CEO of TerraPay. “This partnership with MoneyTrans and Paga will play a pivotal role in cross border remittances in Nigeria, helping to reduce fees, improve speed and provide convenience for users.”

Nigeria is ranked sixth among the top remittance-receiving countries in the world. In 2015, the World Bank pegged remittances received in Nigeria at $21 billion.

Paga featured on Forbes

Our Founder & CEO, Tayo Oviosu, was interviewed for an in-depth feature on Forbes. The article starts as follows:

Mobile money is the next big thing and Tayo Oviosu is already bringing this revolutionary financial service to Nigerians.

Oviosu is the founder of Pagatech, Nigeria’s first mobile money company. The company’s flagship service, Paga, is Nigeria’s foremost mobile money transfer service. Within less than a year of launching its service to the general public, the Lagos-based Paga has accumulated over 32,000 active users on its platform and has processed over US $1.6 million in volume.

Interestingly, Paga has piqued the interest of some internationally renowned investors, one of whom is Tim DraperDraper, one of Silicon Valley’s more well known venture capitalists, doesn’t usually make investments around Africa. But when Oviosu, a Nigerian-born Stanford grad, approached the famed investor and shared his idea for a mobile money transfer service in Nigeria, Africa’s second largest economy, Draper believed it was too good an opportunity to ignore.

Tayo recently granted me an interview during which he talked about the idea behind his company, the benefits of a cashless society, the Nigerian opportunity, and reiterated his mission to transform lives by delivering innovative and universal access to financial services to Nigerians.

Read the full article here

Earlier this year Forbes also recognized Paga as one of “Five Sexy African Tech Start-ups” – Read here

3 days, and already over 1000 responses to our first newspaper Advert!

The response to our field team and to our first national advert has been very strong. In the advert we asked people to send us an SMS if they were interested in learning more about becoming a Paga merchant. Merchants for Paga act as cash-in and cash-out points for customers, they can also perform transactions on behalf of customers. In total we have received over 1000 responses of interest!

Here is the call to action, its simple (in case you know anyone interested):

Merchants make a commission for every transaction they perform!

If you already operate a shop, supermarket, chemist, or other retail outlet and want to offer Paga services at your location(s), simply SMS your name, surname, state and town to 0802 390 4939. Example: John Musa Delta Sapele

Learn more by visiting http://www.pagatech.com/merchants

An important milestone for Paga is coming – our pilot!

Our closed loop pilot of Paga starts next week Thursday! We just sent out invitations to a select group of individuals who will get early access to provide us with valuable input and feedback…If you are interested sign-up to join the pilot using our online form and we’ll get you started. looking forward to it!

Protecting funds in mobile money schemes

Mobile money is new to most people – indeed it will be to the majority of Nigerians. Developing trust in mobile money is going to be key to adoption. Users will rightfully ask “is my money safe?” and “what happens if the mobile money scheme fails?” These are all valid questions that must be addressed by regulators and mobile money operators.

In Nigeria the regulatory body for mobile money is the Central Bank of Nigeria (“CBN”). The CBN framework for mobile payments already goes a long way in ensuring funds in the schemes are protected. The most important element of what they have done is to require isolation – funds in electronic wallets must always match funds in the bank. This means the mobile money scheme cannot use the deposits as part of their working capital. There is also the capitalization requirements the CBN has laid out – N500m (~$3m).

These and other auditing rules are great, but we at Paga think schemes need to go further. The risks here are not only with the mobile money scheme but also with the deposit banks. With all due respect, if Lehman Brothers can fail, then any bank in Nigeria can one day fail. To be clear, we think the banking industry in Nigeria is strong and with the pending consolidation will only get stronger. The recent regulatory moves by the CBN has also instituted better risk management and reporting at the Banks. All these moves, along with the CBN’s demonstrated appetite to step in and ensure there is confidence in the banking sector make it less likely the big banks will fail. Nevertheless, the most comforting thing to someone who puts their hard earned N500 ($3) into a mobile money scheme is that it is protected by the government’s deposit insurance scheme.

As we prepare to launch at Paga we have re-doubled our efforts to address this issue. We are working with our banking partners to ensure that all funds in Paga are insured appropriately.  With our banking partners we have held meetings with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (“NDIC”). There is currently no concept of “pass-through insurance” in the NDIC framework. The concept of pass-through insurance exists in many similar national insurance corporations and covers mobile money schemes. Essentially what it means is that should the deposit bank fail, then the one pool account of the mobile money scheme is not seen as belonging to one corporate customer but rather by a list of people who have funds in the mobile money scheme. The mobile money scheme is responsible for keeping the list.

We are confident, as we have seen in other aspects of mobile money regulation, that the CBN and NDIC will come to the right conclusions here. It is imperative they do if we are to achieve the promise of mobile money – financial inclusion for the 80% of Nigerians with no access today.

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What does it mean to “innovate” with respect to mobile payments?

Maybe its our silicon valley background, but innovating and doing so quickly is in the DNA at Paga. We were discussing this during a team meeting today and how we see our ability to execute on that as a key differentiator. Post the meeting I pulled up my RSS feed only to see a very interesting article on CGAP on the topic. Give it a read here.

Question to you – what do you think it means to innovate with respect to mobile payments? is it just the channel? what’s the innovation?