WorldRemit offers mobile remittance payments via Android Pay

Ismail Ahmed is the head of WorldRemit.
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Ismail Ahmed is the head of WorldRemit.

Android Pay, Google's mobile payments service, is partnering with WorldRemit, a financial technology (fintech) remittance provider, to enable in-app payments to be sent around the world.

WorldRemit is the only remittance provider to be allowed to add Android Pay directly to its global service so far. The Google mobile phone Operating System, with its attendant payment function, is the most popular OS in the developing world.

Customers can transfer money instantly across continents in just five taps – without entering credit card or other details, or relying on 3G or Wi-Fi networks.

Customers of the London headquartered fintech firm can send money abroad from a mobile device with people on the other end able to receive it in their bank account as a transfer. Alternatively, for the estimated two billion unbanked people in the world it can be received as mobile money that can be used to pay bills, groceries and so forth; as a cash pick-up via a store; or as a mobile airtime top-up. This aids financial inclusion.

WorldRemit has deals with popular mobile money providers such as Kenya's M-Pesa and M-Shwari; MTN Mobile Money and Airtel in Ghana; and Zimbabwe's EcoCash, among others. Remittances can be accessed in over 50 countries and 140+ destinations. More than 112 million mobile money accounts are accessible on its aggregated network and it handles 600,000 transactions every month.

The mobile wallet service relies on cheaper fees and an ability to move money instantly and easily as an alternative to incumbent bank-based providers like Western Union. TransferWise is another fintech player trying to disrupt this marketplace.

According to the World Bank international migrants will send $601 billion to their families in other countries this year, with developing countries getting the lion's share of that at $441 billion.

WorldRemit has attracted $40 million from Accel Partners, an early funder of Facebook and Spotify, and $100m from a consortium led by Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV). It has regional offices in the U.S, Canada, South Africa, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Android Pay is supported by industry standard tokenisation, whereby payments are sent with a virtual account number providing an extra layer of security.

Commenting on the link-up in a statement, Pali Bhat, director of product management at Google, said: "We want to make it easier for organisations like WorldRemit to offer a simpler, faster in-app payment solution for their customers. With Android Pay, people will be able to speed through checkout with their Android phones in a few clicks."

In the same statement, Alice Newton-Rex, product vice president at WorldRemit, said 60% of its app users are on Android, "which is by far the most popular mobile operating system in the developing world", adding that "half a billion use their mobiles as a bank account".

"This integration with Android Pay is the next logical step of our mobile first approach, and continues our commitment to providing greater financial inclusion.''

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