Airtel Africa’s partnership with MoneyGram, announced on August 21st, is supposed to provide millions of users across the continent with a quick way to receive money.
Airtel Africa is well known as a provider of telecommunications and mobile money, available in 14 African countries (primarily in East, Central, and West Africa).
In March last year, the company had over 99 million subscribers, 19 million of which use a mobile payment app called Airtel Money The great appeal of Airtel Money, in addition to its national and international money services, is their offer of very cheap data plans in Nigeria.
Speaking about the new partnership, Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, said: “We are delighted to work with MoneyGram to provide millions of customers with fast, secure, and convenient options to receive and send money as well as access their funds from a vast distribution of exclusive kiosks, agents and branches at their convenience.”
He also added: “This is a significant step forward in our ambition to transform lives through greater financial inclusion and empowerment across the continent. Maximizing access to global remittances is a key part of this – even more so given the disruption and economic hardship faced by many because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This partnership is just one step in the company’s journey. Airtel Africa also closed a deal with Standard Chartered Bank in order to allow its clients to make online deposits and withdrawals from the bank in real-time as well as internationally receive money to their wallet and access their savings, in addition to other features.
Last year, they also partnered up with a payment and foreign exchange services firm Ecobank and Finablr – a pan-African banking giant.
On the other hand, MoneyGram International is a global remittance company based in the USA.
They specialize in cross-border peer-to-peer payments and money transfers and are the second-biggest provider of these services in the world.
When it comes to the Airtel deal, John Gely, head of MoneyGram Africa said: “This partnership with Airtel will enable millions of consumers instant access to our global platform to receive money from over 200 countries and territories without having to even step outside.”
Gely added: “We’re excited about how this customer-centric partnership with Airtel will expand our mobile wallet capabilities, build upon our strong momentum in Africa, and further accelerate our digital growth across the globe.”
MoneyGram already has similar arrangements with Safaricom, which allows Tanzanian and Kenyan users to access the platform, as well as with Zimbabwe’s Ecocash and various providers in Ghana, such as Vodafone Cash, Airtel Tigo Money, and MTN MoMo.
There was also talk of Western Union approaching MoneyGram and proposing a takeover deal but, so far, it looks like nothing came of it.
Furthermore, the company is relying on blockchain and its decentralized technology to make its transfers faster and more efficient. Ripple, a blockchain payments company, made a significant investment in MoneyGram and now holds around 10% of its common stocks.
The Airtel Africa/MoneyGram deal means that Airtel Money’s customers will be able to receive transfers from their friends and family through MoneyGram and put it directly into their mobile wallets.
The money will be available instantly and can be used for a variety of purposes, from paying the utility bills to transferring it to other individuals.
Seeing as how the coronavirus pandemic encouraged people to replace cash with various digital payment apps, it’s no wonder that there is more and more use of this method in e-commerce, mobile banking, and mobile gambling industries.
Being somewhat of a data security freak, the stamp of approval from the online gambling industry means a lot.