TerraPay to launch cross-border money transfers in SA

Ambar Sur, founder and CEO of TerraPay.
Ambar Sur, founder and CEO of TerraPay.

Netherlands-based mobile payment company TerraPay has obtained regulatory approval from South African Reserve Bank to offer cross-border money transfer services in SA.

This makes TerraPay the fifth company to be licensed as a category three authorised dealer in foreign exchange with limited authority, also known as ADLA 3, to conduct low-value international money transfers in the country.

TerraPay says it is building global payments infrastructure for low-value cross-border transactions. The service interconnects mobile wallet service providers, financial institutions and money transfer operators in key send and receive markets.

The licence enables the company to enter into cross-border low-value person-to-person payments in SA.

The company notes the South African market is highly complementary to its international money transfer network in Africa, Europe and Middle-East countries.

In the initial roll-out, TerraPay will enable cross-border money transfers from SA to mobile wallets in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Mozambique and Uganda.

According to the World Bank, the global average cost of sending remittances was 7.43% of the amount sent by remitting customers. For remittances sent from SA, the average cost was 16.71%; more than double the global average.

"As per a report from FinMark Trust, the bulk of remittance flows from South Africa are destined for Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho, with 85% of all migrants originating from these countries," says Ambar Sur, founder and CEO of TerraPay.

"Moreover, almost 70% of transfers to these countries are conducted informally, since the high cost of formal money transfers is a major barrier to accessing formal remittance channels.

"TerraPay is taking an aim to solve this problem of the migrants, by facilitating instant and cost-effective low-value money transfers to mobile wallets. We are now open for business in South Africa and are actively looking to build strategic partnerships to further expand our footprint in the Southern Africa region."

According to TerraPay, SA is a major send as well as receive market. Apart from sending remittances to all neighbouring Southern African countries, the country also receives remittances from the UK, Australia and US, it notes.

TerraPay's global network is expected to support the growing demand for instant transfers in the region.

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