People living in the US have found it particularly ironic that sending money via Western Union and MoneyGram is not as instant as the two service providers claim it to be. If anything, it takes hours and might even take days for money to be delivered to a recipient living in East Africa. Additionally the two services charge expensive fee for wiring your money.
Well, this might soon change as another competitor dubbed Wave, launches in the money transfer industry in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The service was launched in its beta form back in May, 2014, by two entrepreneurs Drew Durbin and Lincoln Quirk. They already have an app out for both Android and iOS devices.
Wave wants to offer users free and instant money transfer service directly to their mobile wallets. It is said, users on the platform will be able to send money as fast as they can send text messages from one mobile phone to another. Additionally the service also allows for fund transfer into East Africa’s most popular mobile money service, M-Pesa. The service will save users from having to spend as much as $10 on each transaction charged by Western Union and MoneyGram.
Durbin, the CEO of Wave, says he was inspired to start Wave after the difficulties he experienced when working for an NGO in East Africa. After leaving the NGO, he teamed up with Quirk and together they found Wave.
Wave currently enables users to send money only to three East African countries; Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Users have the option of receiving their money through their bank issued debit cards or on M-Pesa with no fees charge and the best available rates. This is literally expected to give Western Union and MoneyGram a run for their money as the two have been accused of levying high surcharge fees and have problems with delayed payments.
User simply signs up for the services using their debit card; the sign up is a one-time-thing and won’t be repeated again. After successfully signing up, users can then start sending money to their families, friends and business associates within Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Currently, only users in US can use the service to send money to East Africa. It is mainly targeting the US diaspora and humanitarian organization operating in the East Africa region.
The company says it encrypts all of the users’ personal information and provides phone support that will be able users to track down their money prior to reaching the recipient. The company is also planning to expand its services across Africa.
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