SimbaPay is a remittance service provider headquartered in London that enables Africans in UK to send money from their bank accounts back home fast, cheaply and securely through its mobile app, as well as the website.
The company just launched a free remittance service to Nigeria. Cointelegraph had an exclusive interview with its Co-founder and CEO Nyasinga Onyancha to find out about the company’s business model and his projections for the new market.
“We are driven by the vision to provide cost effective remittance services to Africa.”
Cointelegraph: What is the story behind SimbaPay and for how long have you been in business?
Nyasinga Onyancha: SimbaPay first released its app in late October 2014. We started with iPhone, but we have since included Android and PC apps. We are driven by the vision to provide cost effective remittance services to Africa.
We want our customers to send money to loved ones without the hindrance of high fees. SimbaPay allows transfers from UK to a mobile wallet or bank account in Kenya and now in Nigeria.
CT: How does SimbaPay Work? How do you make sure that the recipient has the money in a matter of minutes from the time it is sent?
NO: We have built a proprietary cloud-based method of transferring money. This lowers our costs and ensures we can pass multiple transactions through in a matter of minutes.
CT: You have made it clear that it is free to send money from UK to Nigeria. How do you cover your costs as well as make a profit because, at the end of the day, you are a business?
NO: As I mentioned, our costs are very low due to our proprietary cloud-based technology. We have eliminated transaction fees for our customers. However, we do charge a slight difference between our FX rate and mid-market FX rates to compensate ourselves for taking the FX risk.
“Nigeria is the largest remittance destination in Africa. US$21 billion is remitted annually.”
CT: By all standards, Nigeria is a market that can be described as competitive in remittance services. What informed your decision to start your own services to the country?
NO: Remittances are a large part of Africa’s growth story and remain the largest source of international finance flows into the continent. Nigeria is the largest remittance destination in Africa. US$21 billion is remitted annually to the West African country. So it makes sense to have a presence in this key African market.
CT: How do you project your company will perform in this market both in term of transaction and revenue volumes?
NO: We are already seeing customers taking an interest in our services. Our proprietary cloud-based infrastructure is more than capable of handling hundreds of thousands of transactions each month, which is what we anticipate happening over the coming year.
“We are ... eyeing the whole of Africa, especially countries that have embraced mobile money.”
CT: Is it only from UK where one can send money to Nigeria through your platforms?
NO: Currently one can only send from the UK but we are in the process of expanding to other countries in Europe.
CT: After Nigeria, which other African countries are you eyeing?
NO: We are actually eyeing the whole of Africa, especially countries that have embraced mobile money. This is because they have greater access to funds — via remittances. In the coming months, we are planning to launch in some more East African countries.