Mahindra Comviva-backed international money transfer service through mobile, TerraPay, in coordination with ARTF, is organizing the Future of Money Transfers workshop between June 23rd and June 24th at Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire to improve financial inclusion in the country.
Ambar Sur, Founder and CEO TerraPay, said; “Open ecosystems would create new growth opportunities for the money transfer industry in Congo. Building an interoperable network for money transfers is a massive undertaking – one that can only be met with industry-wide collaboration. The workshop is the first step towards bringing multiple financial service providers together to address issues related to launching an open and secure payment network.”
In Congo, an approximate 85% of the population lacks access to formal financial services. This has given rise to diverse range of private players — remittance service providers and mobile network operators — who compete to address the need for basic financial products, including domestic and international money transfers, among unbanked segments.
Currently these services operate in silos, limiting their reach and utility. Customers, for example, find it difficult to move monies between different payment schemes and between accounts at mobile money schemes and accounts at banks.
The mobile is the most ubiquitously available services infrastructure in Congo, with 90% of the population owning a mobile device. Given widespread consumer acceptance and familiarity, ensuring the interoperability of payments systems by leveraging the mobile can accelerate industry growth. Integrating existing payment services and mobile money services can help achieve economies of scale, and generate exponential growth in transaction volumes.
Domestic and international migrants, for example, would be able to use a payment instrument of their choice – card, mobile wallet account or a bank account – to transfer funds. Further, the inclusion of informal money transfer operators would lead to a reduction in cash usage by enabling cash to mobile transfers. From a financial inclusion perspective, money movement on mobile would create an easy entry point for consumers into the financial mainstream and promote adoption of formal financial products.
The implementation of an effective interoperability model requires stakeholders to work together and agree on common standards. The Future of Money Transfers workshop focuses on crucial technical, operational and commercial aspects related to building and launching an interoperable payment services network. These include business models; know your customer and anti-money laundering policies, clearing and settlement arrangements, disputes and loss allocation as well as common reporting standards.
According to Monsieur Robert Jean Raphael MASSAMBA-DEBAT, Director General ARTF, “Interoperability is not an end in itself; rather it is a means to achieve equitable access to financial services. Government and private sector collaboration is essential to building an inclusive, cash-lite economy. We are happy TerraPay is championing the initiative to bring all industry players together to discuss pathways to implement efficient cross-network and cross-border transfers.”
TerraPay is building the rails for convenient, affordable and secure money transfer. TerraPay interlinks mobile operators, money transfer organisations, banks and payment services providers to create a one network for seamless and real-time money transfers. The network exposes APIS to payment services providers to connect to one common platform to enable consumers transfer money between various payment schemes, regardless of location or carrier. Currently TerraPay services are available in Asia and GCC and are being trailed in Africa.