Bitcoin based Remittances and Their Benefits to African Customers
Today I want to talk with you about bitcoin remittance providers. Why?
Although the leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin could be facing crackdowns in various regions in the world, it is experiencing a surge in the African remittance market. It isn't affected by geographical variations since its transactions are stored in a blockchain database.
The main difference between cryptocurrencies and MasterCard or visa is that it isn't regulated by the government and doesn't require intermediaries, and the transactions rely on the internet; thus can take place at any part of the world.
Remittances have become a common way of life in most African countries since there is an increased number of immigrants in search of better wages. These workers will, at one point in their lives, want to transfer money to their families and friends back in their home countries. The situation leaves most people at the mercy of various financial institutions like banks and money transfer operators who charge a very high fee.
However, the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology offers high hopes in an attempt to transform the African remittance industry in favor of migrant workers and their families.
Today, Bitcoin operates as a medium of money transfer allowing users to evade the high charges by traditional money transfer services.
See also my article "The Ultimate Guide About Bitcoin Based Remittances for Africans".
Comparison Between the Traditional and Bitcoin-based Remittances
In the ancient model, for example, when a USA based migrant worker needs to send money to his family in Africa, he visits a money transfer operator and hands over the cash. The transfer agent then starts to process the transaction at the current exchange rate and must charge for the services. Generally, the agent works as a third party conversant with the transfer software and services from a remittance software provider like a Western union.
Since he lacks the financial capabilities and relevant software system, he only gets a fraction of what the customer pays, and a considerable amount goes to the remittance provider company. Additionally, the agent needs to settle some subscription fees for system installation and maintenance. Thus, he must increase the overall cost to the end-user to meet his financial obligations. Besides, inexactness in the exchange rates also affects the client in the form of unfavorable rates.
On the other hand, the crypto remittance companies facilitate better cross border payments through a great internet connection and a simple software system compatible with various devices. Therefore, the money transfer agents can perform the transactions without additional installation, maintenance, or subscription costs. The blockchain technology then records the transaction details and anti-money laundering necessities in a database for security purposes.
The business operations in these companies involve estimating the amount of money required for particular remittances in a day. They then purchase an equivalent bitcoin and later sell the crypto in the fiat currency in the recipient nation.
Cryptocurrency's Popularity in Africa
The soaring rise in mobile phone use in most African countries is helping entrepreneurs compete with other money transfer services with high remittance rates and fees. The crypto use has increased in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Additionally, cryptocurrency is gradually gaining ground in Uganda.
According to Google trend data, Lagos in Nigeria has the highest volume of online search for Bitcoin. It results from the frustrations of existing money transfer services, which bars the citizens from receiving money from their families overseas due to the countries fraud reputation. As a result, numerous innocent people are suffering and have to use alternative services with a high fee to receive financial help.
Recently, most of them have embraced cryptocurrencies as a perfect solution. Citizens of countries battling with high inflation rates are likely to opt for crypto as a substitute for their disastrous banking policies. Some of the countries with high inflation rates include Egypt, Ghana, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi and are among the leading bitcoin economies in Africa.
Another significant factor spurring crypto growth in the continent is the inability and powerlessness of the governments to regulate Bitcoin. Fearing the collapse of the banking sector and misappropriation of funds by the African governments, most citizens seek crypto transactions. The South African Luno exchange was developed in 2013 and has attracted more than 1.5 million users worldwide.
Additionally, the Kenyan Bitcoin Remittance Provider Bitpesa facilitates transactions in African and international locations with high trading volumes contributed by the lucrativeness of the business.
Other Bitcoin Remittance Providers include Abra, operating in Morocco and Malawi, BitMari in Zimbabwe, and Geopay in South Africa.
Surprisingly, some governments have shifted into the virtual currency terrains with Tunisia's government issuing the eDinnar digital currency.
As stated by the Hootsuite's 2019 global digital yearbook, 10.7% of South Africans own crypto, with Nigeria at 7.78% and 7.3% for Ghana.
Reasons Behind Crypto Popularity in most African Countries
Most African citizens have started shifting their hopes to the use of crypto to escape numerous constraints faced with the traditional money transfer services, including cost, speed, and inconveniences.
The main benefit is the overall lower cost to the end customer, which allows migrant workers to send substantial amounts of money to their loved ones in their home countries at fairer prices. Also, there is a high unpredictability in the local currencies in most African countries; for instance, when South African rand became a volatile currency, most people switched to crypto to seek security.
The transaction is safe, and the companies don't hold the virtual currency for more extended periods; thus, the operation takes a short time.
Some Africans have also lost trust in their local banking systems, for example, in Zimbabwe where they have experienced hyperinflation, Bitcoin is very popular, and at times demand surpasses supply. Due to the instability and shortages, most Zimbabwean citizens are flooding the crypto markets as they believe Bitcoin is more trustworthy.
Besides the financial inclusions and local currency volatility, there is a vast unbanked population in the continent since others in remote regions lack access to bank accounts.
Mobile money is a critical driver in reducing the number of unbanked individuals; thus, Africa is better prepared to shift into the crypto world than any other continent. Most citizens are already open to adopting crypto technology, and crypto exchanges that offer mobile functional apps will highly benefit.
Bitcoin Remittance Providers for African Countries
As crypto awareness is on a rapid rise in Africa, more cross border payments are likely to take place with the digital currencies. Most African migrant workers now put their hopes on bitcoin based remittances to send money to their families at home due to the lower fee, improved efficiency, and speed of the transaction.
A considerable number of crypto-fiat platforms have thus emerged to meet the high demand, and you need to choose the right one depending on location and preferences.
As Bitcoin Guide Africa we present you here the leading Bitcoin remittance providers in operation.
Bitcoin remittance provider Paxful
Paxful, a crypto remittance platform founded in 2015, with its headquarters in New York, has since recorded a consistent uptrend in its existence. It avails most African nationals a chance to send funds to their families back at home since it's less volatile than most fiat currencies in some countries experiencing higher inflation. To start transactions, create an account and click "buy bitcoin," then input preferred currency and method of payment, state, city, and the bank of your choice.
Search for offers, pick one, and then enter the amount of money you want to trade, you can now converse with your vender through live chat. Buyers will need to get the name, and the account number of a vendor, then go to the bank, deposit the money, and take a picture of the slip then send it back. Once the verification process is complete, escrow releases a bitcoin to complete the transaction.
Numerous people from all over the world can now transfer funds and trade bitcoins through the site daily. It provides several payment methods, including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, MoneyGram, bank transfer, among many others.
It operates in various African countries including:
• South Africa
Bitcoin remittance provider LocalBitcoins
Jeremias Kangas and his brother Nikolaus formed the Helsinki-based platform in 2012, which allows direct trade between persons. It doesn't provide for an overhead corporate; thus, the transaction process is swift and lean. LocalBitcoin has recorded an increase in the transaction volumes in the African countries for peer to peer transactions.
It provides a safe platform where its users can convert bitcoins into fiat and vice versa and also facilitates funds transfer between African countries. The platform connects buyers and sellers within a particular geographical area hence the name. It supports a wide range of money transfer options, including the Mpesa, which makes it popular among most African crypto investors.
It's the most straightforward platform for beginners who wish to send money to overseas in the operating African country. You simply need to open a LocalBitcoins account and search for people selling bitcoin-core in your country, then make a bank transfer to the seller, and you will receive fiat cash into your desired local account. The system offers heightened security by using escrow mechanism to hold funds and only releases it when both parties come into an agreement. The platform is available in every African country where buyers and sellers are ready and willing to transact using digital currencies.
Read more about LocalBitcoins: LocalBitcoins in Africa Extensive Guide
Bitcoin remittance provider Coinmama
Founded in 2013, Coinmama is operated by New Bit Ventures Limited with its headquarters based in Israel. The platform provides brokering services for crypto, meaning that they sell you bitcoins directly as opposed to other platforms where you buy from other traders. It offers multiple options to purchase cryptocurrencies off the platform using credit cards, debit cards, Western Union money transfer, MasterCard, Visa, and cash payments.
For bitcoins transfer using Coinmama, create an account, and submit your documents for verifications to get approved for purchase. Once verified, you can assess various choices to purchase a certain amount or enter a custom amount. When you submit your wallet address for order processing, Coinmama's wallet expedites payment to the required address.
For the credit card orders, it takes a few minutes to process, but SEPA bank transfers will take up to two days. Their website comes with a step by step guide on how to use their services and offers industry-leading purchase limits convenient for any beginner. It operates in most African countries, providing simple, fast, usually slightly expensive transfer services.
However, it isn't available in the following countries:
• South Sudan
Click here to visit the website of Coinmama!
Bitcoin remittance provider BitPesa
Elizabeth Rossiello founded the company in 2013, based in Nairobi, whose initial focus was to facilitate crypto-cash transfer between the U.K and Kenyan citizens but has extended to several African countries. Today, the platform has gained popularity among importers and exporters across Africa, and it facilitates a smooth trading and remittance services. Users can send and receive cash in multiple African currencies to pay bills at home and other international currencies to pay overseas suppliers.
It operates by deploying APIs that work with various mobile payment platforms and a chain of bank networks. Organizations can send payment to their employees' suppliers or distributors and also collect fees from African customers in local currencies. To transact, you need to establish a BitPesa account where you can sell or buy virtual currencies such as Bitcoins in the supported national currencies.
If you need to initiate a transaction, then you must deposit Bitcoins into your BitPesa account. Then, designate a Payee account where the money gets delivered at the current exchange rate. You then confirm your exchange transaction where the indicated amount of cryptocurrency is transferred from your account and deposited into a designated payee account. Most people use the platform to enjoy fast, straightforward, and more effortless remittances between international and Africa fiat currencies.
BitPesa operates in the following African countries:
• Democratic Republic of Congo
Click here to visit the website of BitPesa!
Bitcoin remittance provider NairaEx
It is a Nigerian based e-currency exchange platform founded in 2015, which allows users to sell and buy Bitcoin with Nigerian Naira at fairer rates. Today, it's a central exchange service platform in the country which operates independently from a mobile payment processing solution. It facilitates cash payments while cutting a considerable amount of the deposit and withdrawal fee and thus allows users to convert crypto into cash via bank accounts freely.
The transactions with NairaEX are quite straightforward where the sender deposits local currency into the account, then provides a recipient bank detail, and the platform pays it into the beneficiary's local bank account. Additionally, users can use bank transfers or deposits to buy bitcoin in Naira through the platform and then use the exchange wallets for payments and can quickly cash out their bitcoins into local currency.
It helps the clients pay school fees, living expenses, and salary or make remittances to suppliers. The platform aims at providing Bitcoin exchange services exclusively for Nigeria citizens, and that's why the country's currency terminology is part of the domain name. It aims at supporting the country's numerous unbanked individuals by developing a payment request tool that allows users to accept virtual currency directly from a NairaEX account.
Click here to visit the website of NairaEx!
Bitcoin remittance provider Hellobit
The San Francisco based company, founded in 2014, utilizes new digital currencies technology to send money home to families in emerging markets. It uses bitcoin as the primary medium for cross-border payments and cuts the service remittance fee up to 12 percent. Through the company's app, users connect with other currency exchangers, be it individuals, businesses, or large organizations, and one can receive payments in their local currency.
Hellobits integrates the power of cellphone services into the remittance market to improve efficiency in the cross-border payments. It's a three-party remittance service where the sender and exchanger need a smartphone while the recipient only needs a feature phone. The senders logs into the Hellobit account and transmits a bitcoin to the local exchanger. The platform then notifies the beneficiary via SMS code to confirm if they are the right recipient.
The recipient then receives a location of a place or a person nearby who will exchange the cryptocurrencies for local currency. It allows people to send money to their friends and relatives anywhere in the world, provided that the recipient can pick up cash from the trusted network of collaborative economy-based exchangers.
Click here to visit the website of Hellobit!
Bitcoin remittance provider Remitano
Remitano is a peer-to-peer platform that facilitates cryptocurrencies trading in a secure environment. On the platform, users can purchase Bitcoin in exchange for Fiat currencies at a small fee between themselves. A Seychelles based company, Babylon Solutions Limited owns it and has been in existence since 2015.
For any transaction, you need to create a Remitano account and then scroll down to find a buyer. Depending on the selected country, cryptocurrencies exchange rates, all buyers and sellers from the specific locations, are displayed. Enter the amount of crypto you want to sell, your payment account details, then click "Continue", and the transaction will switch automatically waiting for the buyer to pay. The buyer will then deposit money in the required account and close the deal.
It has encrypted data storage, two-factor verification, and escrow trading to ensure that transactions and personal data are secure. Remitano mostly works with cash deposits and bank transfers but avails other options in different countries like Wechat and Alipay. Apart from the web platform, users also access it via mobile applications in Android and iOS powered devices, which facilitate push notifications.
Remitano Services are accessible in the following African countries:
• South Africa
Click here to visit the website of Remitano!
Bitcoin remittance provider Geopay
GeoPay is a blockchain remittance digital platform that facilitates the flow of remittances from different parts of the world into Africa. It is a South African based startup, founded in 2014. Users can easily send or receive money via Geopay tellers who are available in and out of South Africa. The platform has a great user experience that integrates local currency in the emerging markets; thus, making cross-border payments easy and fast.
One is required to download the application on iOS or Android enabled devices and has an option to add a debit card to send money via Geopay. Transactions go through a network of agents in the informal settings who facilitates settlements for the financially excluded individuals between countries. It enables people in the diaspora to seamlessly send money to their homeland and saves them on conversions and transfer fees. Additionally, users can use GeoPay to make merchants payments.
Click here to visit the website of Geopay!
Bitcoin remittance provider BTCGhana
BTC Ghana is a bitcoin remittance platform that facilitates the transfer of funds in a secure, fast, and affordable way for Ghanaians and Africans in the diaspora. It was founded in 2015 with its headquarters in Kumasi, Ghana. BTC Ghana incorporates the blockchain technology into the current mobile money service providers in Africa, to facilitate mobile settlements using bitcoins from developed countries to Ghana.
Users in Europe and the United States can make cryptocurrency purchases via established exchange platforms and send the payment to local remittance platforms such as MTN Mobile Money, AirtelMoney, and TigoCash. The money then gets transferred to recipients' mobile money account, and users can pick their funds at local remittance outlets in Cedi without dealing with the complex Deposit and withdrawal methods.
Click here to visit the website of BTCGhana!
Bitcoin remittance provider SureRemit
SureRemit is a non-cash remittance platform that uses blockchain technology to assist immigrants to send money back home. It was founded in 2017 with its headquarters based in Lagos, Nigeria. It doesn't charge transaction fees when paying for utility bills, groceries, or medical treatment. Users are at liberty to choose a specific local merchant from whom they can purchase digital vouchers and settle it instantly on the SureRemit platform.
By the use of blockchain, the platform can bypass the usual banking system and connect a consumer to a local merchant at a small transaction fee. To transact on SureRemit, download the app on either android or iOS powered gadget and present tokens to start making payments. It's tied to a specific merchant and is irredeemable for cash; thus cannot be used for money laundering, fraud, or terrorist funding.
SureRemit is looking forward to growing its presence in Africa through its predecessors' network, SureGift. It provides Remit tokens and has a vast network in various African countries like:
Click here to visit the website of SureRemit!
Bitcoin remittance provider Circle
The Circle is a global internet finance company that is built on blockchain technology and powered by Crypto assets. It was founded in 2013 by internet entrepreneurs Sean Neville, and Jeremy Allaire, and the headquarters are in Boston, Massachusetts. It has a mobile payment platform, the Circle Pay’s, that enables users to send, receive, or hold traditional currencies.
To send money using Circle pay, sign in to your account and navigate to the "send tab" then enter the amount you wish to transfer. Enter a Bitcoin address to choose where you want to send your funds and complete the payment. There are no deposit or withdrawal charges from bank accounts, insurance, storage, or cryptocurrencies transactions. Users can register for one account, denominated in their local currency or Bitcoin, for a maximum of two reports.
Click here to visit the website of Circle Pay!
Bitcoin remittance provider Crowdz
Crowdz is a blockchain platform that permits businesses to manage, digitalize, and optimize invoices. It was founded in 2014 by Payson, Severo, Steven Lee, and Hopkins, and the headquarters are in Sunnyvale, California. Crowdz uses a blockchain-based B2B money transfer service. It uses blockchain as its foundation to automate and speed up transactions, thereby eliminating the process of having to download and key in information into an accounting system.
After transmitting an invoice over the Crowdz invoice exchanges, the digitized data securely and instantly passes to the relevant parties such as employees and clients. Not only does it make work easier on invoicing, but it also facilitates faster payments, orders, and documents. All these related transactions instantly become interconnected; thus, making it less stressful.
The company focuses on small and medium-sized firms to boost their growth in the economy and has fully customized solutions for global ventures. It accelerates the cash conversion cycle by allowing digital payments to overseas suppliers with no international transfer fee. Crowdz support 24/7 invoice exchange in most countries with Barclay's bank access.
Click here to visit the website of Crowdz!
Bitcoin remittance provider Everex
Everex is a blockchain financial technology firm that enables the application of virtual currency on a peer to peer payment platform to facilitate cross border transactions. It was founded in 2016, by Alexi Lane with the main office in Bangkok, Thailand. Everex acts as a link between cryptos and fiat currency by digitizing local currencies into fiat to come up with a costless, transparent, secure, and fast payments system.
Users can convert their money into digital crypto-cash via their local banks and use them on desktop wallets and mobile devices. The cryptocurrency, therefore, paves the way for Everex to provide micro-lending services without the volatility of traditional cryptos. Concerns between the capital transfer system and external blockchains are addressed by the Service-Oriented Architecture, which comprises of Blockchain package and Everex –System package.
Everex enables you to make a transfer, pay other people, and trade with any fiat currency anywhere in the world. The company has developed a global partnership with vendors that accept Everex transactions as payment methods, and users can also withdraw cash through ATMs, retailers, and local currencies exchanges globally. It has a short settling time with a lower transaction fee and global support in the world's remittance markets. The platform accelerates access to financial services in underserved financial markets.
Click here to visit the website of Everex!
Bitcoin remittance provider Metalpay
Metalpay is a mobile blockchain-based remittance solution that allows clients to send money at better rates with a native reward currency. It was founded in 2016 in the United States in San Francisco by Marshall Hayner. Consumers can send USD, which is converted to bitcoins, to get a 'METAL' reward for every dollar they send or purchase. The awards can be held as an investment or converted to dollars and sent to another Metal Pay user.
A unique feature with Metalpay is that it has a combined cryptocurrency wallet with traditional financial accounts. To sign up, you need to link your bank account to the app and ensure you verify your identity and phone number. The settling takes a short period after verification. For every dollar you receive or sell, you earn MTL that is up to 5% the transaction value. The rewards are not restricted to sending money but also paying bills like rent or shopping.
Click here to visit the website of Metalpay!
Bitcoin remittance provider Eversend
It is a free banking alternative that avails money transfer services while capitalizing on the blockchain technology. It was founded in 2017 in the France capital, Paris, by Fast Track Malmo and Techstars investors. Their primary focus is on the African customers and those in diaspora all over the world. When using Eversend, you can transfer money to bank accounts and mobile devices.
It enables money transfer from Africa to the rest of the world, in-country money transfer, and intra-Africa crossborder areas. Through their e-wallet, they provide other financial services such as travel insurance, access to cryptocurrency, wealth management, and personal loans. Eversend delivers a complete digital remittance experience by facilitating international transactions without internet connectivity.
Users only need to link their debit card to Eversend accounts, loaded with different currencies to execute e-commerce settlements. It supports various currencies such as KES, RWF, UGX, GBP, USD, NGN, and EUR.
In Africa, it's available in:
• South Africa
Click here to visit the website of Eversend!
Conclusion about Bitcoin remittance providers
Africans working abroad often send money to their families and friends in their home countries to pay for school fees, buy food, clothes, and meet daily expenses or to start a business.
The money is essential for many families in recipients' countries to help cope with the continent's unstable economies.
However, a large amount of this money is taken in transfer fees by expensive agents and financial institutions.
While the financial organizations have been charging Africans high fees for these services, bitcoin-backed fiat remittances have become a solace for most overseas citizens due to its speed, efficiency, and low price.
As more nations adopt virtual currency payment services, Bitcoin may eventually dominate the African remittance market.
The future of crypto-currency based remittances in Africa will depend on the growing rate of mobile phone use and the currency’s freedom from state regulations and banking controls.
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