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‘Despite impact of COVID-19, Worldremit is committed to helping Nigerians abroad send money home’

‘Despite impact of COVID-19, Worldremit is committed to helping Nigerians abroad send money home’

In the run-up to the 60th anniversary of Nigerian Independence on October 1st, Worldremit, a digital payments platform, is offering a helping hand to the approximately 215,000 Nigerians living and working in the UK. In this interview with Businessday’s ENDURANCE OKAFOR, Gbenga Okejimi – Worldremit Country manager for the Nigerian and Ghanaian markets shares insight on how the company is giving 2% discount and pay no Worldremit fees on every transaction to Nigerians in the UK who will be sending money home. Excerpt:

Tell us about Worldremit, your role at the organization and some insights into your financial services expertise?

Worldremit is a digital payments platform that helps customers send money from over 50 countries to 150+ receive countries. On the send side, the service is 100% digital meaning that customers can send money to friends and family 24/7. We have a wide range of options in the recipient countries, including bank deposits, cash collection, mobile airtime top-up and mobile money. Our customer service is round the clock, supporting customers to send money abroad in a cost-effective, secure and convenient way and this distinguishes us from the ‘bricks and mortar’ traditional players. At Worldremit, I am the Country Manager for the Nigerian and Ghanaian markets – overseeing the operations of the company in these regions. Before my current role, I was leading remittances services at one of the largest financial institutions in Nigeria.

Read also: Worldremit launches Worldremit Transfer Tracker App

Give us some highlights of Worldremit’s business in Nigeria.

Worldremit is significantly expanding its service in Nigeria by introducing a new cash pick- up service at all branches of FCMB Bank, Fidelity Bank, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Firstbank, Union Bank and Polaris Bank. Using the Worldremit app or website, the Nigerian diaspora living in over 50 countries can send money quickly and securely to 3,000+ cash pick-up locations across the 36 Nigerian states.

We continue to build partnerships in Nigeria to offer Nigerian customers choice and convenience. As well as a cash pickup, customers can also send money to Nigeria via bank transfer, airtime top-up and mobile money. In Nigeria where nearly 40% of adults are unbanked and the informal economy accounts for 65% of the economy, cash still plays a vital role. Recent Worldremit research shows that 200,000 children are in school due to money sent from loved ones living abroad. In the households that receive remittances, not only is more money spent on education, but children are also less likely to work and more likely to study.

We recently heard you have launched a campaign to celebrate Nigeria @60, please give us an overview of what your plans?

To commemorate with Nigerians on its 60th anniversary, we have decided to run a giveback campaign which provides incentives for customers who use our services during this time. Worldremit is offering a 2% discount and a no-fee incentive to new and existing customers on all transfers sent from the UK to Nigeria. Additionally, customers sending money to Nigeria will stand a chance to win iphone 11’s, Amazon vouchers and Jumia vouchers for their receivers. We, therefore, encourage receivers to inform their senders to transfer funds using Worldremit.

What are the terms and conditions of this campaign?

The campaign is targeted at senders in the UK sending money to Nigeria. Each week Worldremit will select 30 lucky winners, you must be a minimum of 18 years old to enter. The detailed terms and conditions can be found on our website.

What is the motive behind this Independence Day campaign for Nigerians?

With a diaspora of 15 million people living in countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, remittances play a significant role in Nigeria’s economy. The World Bank published in 2018, Nigeria received $26 billion in remittances, making it the largest recipient country in Africa. Collectively Nigerians send home £3.27 billion per year in remittances, which is more than any other nationality living in the UK. Nigeria remains one of our top corridors and it is important to offer a helping hand to Nigerians that are working to support their families back home.

What has been your experience in the remittance industry over the past years?

As the remittance industry continues to evolve, we have witnessed new trends that suggest that we are moving towards a digital economy. Covid-19 has created a new normal, where the industry has been forced to transition from the ‘bricks and mortar’ traditional way of remitting to the digital service that we pioneered with 10 years ago.

The traditional service that requires senders to travel long distances to send funds to their loved ones, is now being replaced by digital solutions that are available in the comfort of our homes and offices especially in this period of a global pandemic. Social distancing measures and the need for a high level of hygiene is said to be creating a shift towards a cashless society.

With more innovative solutions around AI, cryptocurrencies etc, the outlook is bright. Furthermore, there have been several regulatory initiatives that have assisted in the growth of the market. Policies such as the removal of exclusivity clauses in agreements have broken the monopoly of the traditional players and encourage the growth of the industry.

How has Worldremit impacted Nigerian consumers?

Worldremit is committed to creating opportunities for our consumers. We offer various channels of payment to make it convenient for our customers to collect their funds. These funds have helped to improve household income to pay tuition, medical bills, electricity bills, household purchases among others. We continue to support educational initiatives and through partnerships, create opportunities for financial inclusion across the country.

What are some of the new innovative solutions you have developed for consumers?

We have recently launched a new transfer tracker recipient app in the Nigerian market. The ‘Worldremit Transfer Tracker App’ allows you to track your funds from your sender. It indicates the progress of the funds’ transfer journey up to the point of payment. We invested in this App to showcase the importance of the receivers to Worldremit. Nigeria is the first country in Africa and one of 4 countries in the world where it is currently available. The App is available on Google Play and the App Store.

How has Worldremit impacted the economy as a whole?

In 2018, the World Bank reported that remittances were becoming a source of external financing for developing countries and global remittances were estimated at USD 600billion.

In 2018, remittances to Nigeria was USD 24billion while receipts from crude oil sales, tax and customs collections was about USD 10.8billion. This shows that the greatest export of Nigeria is Human Capital.

With these large remittance flows, the government has been able to build its FX reserves and finance public spending and trade opportunities for individuals and corporates. Remittances have also unlocked education opportunities for many disadvantaged Nigerians. So enabling the easy transfer of remittances to Nigeria through Worldremit’s services is something that inherently contributes to the economy.

What makes Worldremit the remittance partner of choice?

Worldremit is dedicated to helping customers abroad connect with their friends and family in over 150 countries 24/7 in a cost-effective, secure and convenient way. Customers using Worldremit can send money home digitally, with funds typically landing in the recipient’s bank account in a matter of minutes. Exchange rates are competitive, our transaction fees are low and fixed, and customers are kept updated through real-time notifications every step of the way.