With an estimated 3,5 million migrant workers in South Africa1, and officially recorded remittances to the developing world expected to reach over US$500 billion in 20152, the international remittance industry is estimated at US$50 billion in Africa alone. Hello Group, with its tailor-made Hello Paisa product offering, is taking the international remittance market by storm, making transferring money for the informal sector easy, immediate and seamless. Typically these customers have been excluded from accessing remittances services and were forced to resort to utilising illegal and informal channels to send money back to their families.

“Remittance or money transfers are a common occurrence within migrant and expatriate communities around the world. It’s not only about sending cash home to families for living expenses or education, it’s about fulfilling a responsibility as well as sending home hope and love,” says Hello Group Chief Commercial Officer, Ahmed Cassim.

Larger, more traditional companies dominate the remittance industry in numerous countries, but this is slowly changing as companies realise that customers prefer options which are more accessible and affordable, and easy to use. There has been a recent transition to transactions being conducted online which makes the process safe, reliable and fast.

Remittances play a vital role in a country’s economy, and are an important source of household income which supports basic consumption as well as investments in various critical sectors such as education, entrepreneurship and healthcare. In some countries, remittances contribute as much as 17% to the Gross Domestic Product.

“Hello Group is driving change in the South African remittance market as well as internationally with the introduction of accessible and affordable ways for customers to send money home. The Group was the first SA company to be granted the license for this type of service, and is now moving into international markets,” says Ahmed.

The Group found that the cost of remitting funds from South Africa was quite costly. A World Bank study3 concluded that the 10 most expensive corridors for remittances were all intra-African, with six of them originating in South Africa*. In addition there were delays in the remittance being available on the receiving end, and that it wasn’t accessible to everyone. Taking these findings into account Hello Group lobbied financial regulators, using technology and partnering only with the world’s most reputable partners, and have managed to drive the cost of international remittance down to provide a world-class solution for customers and a low cost remittance platform.

“Hello Group has been researching and adapting their service offerings for the last 10 years and has entrenched themselves within the migrant communities in South Africa. After using a bottom upwards research strategy, we have discovered that the most cost-effective, reliable and safest solution is to provide customers with a variety of reassuring options that are suitable for their needs. We realise how important a responsibility it is for people to send money home, and we strive to provide our customers with an easy to understand and use experience,” says Chief Executive Officer, Nadir Khamissa.

Integration with all the leading retailers in South Africa provides customers with over 5 000 points of presence for them to settle transactions. Customers are also given a choice as to how their loved ones can receive the funds including: cash collection , topping up of mobile wallets, credit to bank accounts, and in many countries an anywhere pay out system operates which allows recipients to collect funds from multiple locations . This approach has made the Hello Group’s Hello Paisa money transfer service more user friendly and accessible to the public.

While other remittance service providers require a range of different paperwork, Hello Paisa has minimal requirements to perform a transaction which makes the service available to more people. From the time the customer initiates a transaction to the funds actually being available to their family members or friends only takes a few minutes and a few clicks, which has been welcomed by the growing market.

“To-date we are proud to say that we offer tailor-made products and services through 13 000 outlets nationally, and 45 000 independent agents. This clearly distinguishes us from the rest of the market,” he adds.

References:
1 – Migrant Workers’ Association of South Africa
2 – World Bank media release, 13 April 2015: “Remittances growth to slow sharply in 2015, as Europe and Russia stay weak; pick up expected next year”
http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2015/04/13/remittances-growth-to-slow-sharply-in-2015-as-europe-and-russia-stay-weak-pick-up-expected-next-year
3 – Send Money Africa report
* – http://sendmoneyafrica.worldbank.org

Issued by Ogilvy PR on behalf of Hello Group:

Media Queries:
Kerry Hodgkinson, Account Director: Ogilvy PR
Office: +27 (11) 709 9686
Mobile +27 (0) 82 552 4656;
E-mail: kerry.hodgkinson@ogilvypr.co.za

Nadir Khamissa, Chief Executive Officer: Hello Group
Office: +27 12 643 0281
Mobile: +27 82 777 7875
E-mail: nadir@hellogroup.co.za