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Airtel’s Smartcash eyes diaspora remittances in new partnership

Airtel’s Smartcash eyes diaspora remittances in new partnership

Smartcash Payment Service Bank Limited (Smartcash PSB), a subsidiary of Airtel Networks Nigeria said customers can now receive international remittances in naira to their mobile wallets.

Smartcash partnered with Thunes, a cross-border payments infrastructure provider, to power international remittances in naira to mobile wallets and Simba Pay Limited, a subsidiary of MFS Africa, to launch an inward international remittance service that allows customers to receive money from foreign accounts.

This partnership with both companies will enable Smartcash PSB’s customers to receive inward remittances from countries worldwide directly into their Smartcash accounts by simply sharing their phone numbers, which also serve as their account numbers.

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According to Smartcash, funds are sent rapidly at no charge to the recipient and can be accessed across the Smartcash agent network.

Martin Mbonu, Director (MNOs) at MFS Africa emphasising how it simplifies international money transfers for customers said, “This product offers a new level of convenience and efficiency, providing users with a faster and more accessible way to receive funds from the diaspora, and we are glad to be a part of this solution-centric initiative.”

“The service is set to solve another challenge with receiving funds from family and friends abroad adding: “It helps those financially excluded by providing a hassle-free and efficient solution for individuals in the diaspora looking to send money quickly to their loved ones in Nigeria,” Muyiwa Ebitanmi, Managing Director, Smartcash PSB said.

Ebitanmi noted, “With cross-border transfers, Smartcash has brought unprecedented convenience and speed to international remittance, making it easier than ever for Nigerians to enjoy seamless transactions at a global scale via their Smartcash accounts. We are certain that this service will not only improve the financial well-being of our customers but also contribute to the economic growth and spending capacity of Smartcash account holders in the country.”

Smartcash PSB was established in 2022 in response to the growing need for the unbanked population to access banking services at their convenience.

The Central Bank of Nigeria granted the PSB license to entities and investors committed to complying with its policies and objectives, particularly enhancing financial inclusion by expanding access to deposit products, payments, and remittance services for individuals, small businesses, low-income households, and other financially underserved entities.

Nigeria accounted for the highest remittance flow into Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022, as the continent recorded an estimated $52.9 billion, the latest World Bank report has stated.

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The report, tagged, ‘Remittances Remain Resilient But Are Slowing’, covered 2022, and showed that Nigeria accounted for $20.1 billion.

This represents 38 percent of the total remittance flow and is higher than that of Ghana (11.9 percent), Kenya (8.5 percent), Tanzania (25 percent), Uganda (17.3 percent) and Rwanda (21.2 percent).

“The increase in remittance flows to the region supported the current accounts of several African countries dealing with food insecurity, supply chain disruptions, severe drought (Horn of Africa), floods (in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Cameroon), and debt-servicing difficulties,” the report said.