Leading global money transfer company expands service further in Africa
The world of money transfer is changing. This change is mostly being driven by technology. Many people can now pick up their phones or portable devices and send money to friends and family in just a few clicks. However, with an estimated two billion adults in the world in the unbanked category, cash still has an important role in many societies and developing economies. In the case of remittances, this is especially true, with cash being the most popular way for people to receive money from abroad.
Ria Money Transfer is one of the few companies operating in Africa and providing a significant network of remittance payout locations. Today, their global network spans 150 countries and has more than 310,000 locations; but while the company has services in 37 African countries and nearly 20,000 locations through the continent, Ria’s managing director for Africa, El Hadji Malick Seck, says there is still a lot of opportunity for Ria to grow.
“Ria is now serving tens of thousands of local communities and helping remittances flow to some of Africa’s most remote locations. We’re offering bank deposit and cash pick-up options through most of our partners to reach the underbanked, but we’d still like to see more competition in the marketplace. More competition means more choice, which means more customers can benefit from our fast, secure and affordable service.”
One country that has benefited from healthy competition is Ghana. The World Bank estimates that the country received approximately $2bn in personal remittances in 2014. With hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians living outside their country of birth, it appears that quite a few are sending money home regularly. In just over 10 years, Ria has grown its network of retail bank partners in Ghana to 21 and now has more than 1,300 locations in this important country.
Reinhard Grübl, country manager of Ria Germany, believes the company has one of the best services for Ghanaians to send money from Europe. “Ria is undoubtedly offering one of the best and most competitive products in the market for our customers to send money to Ghana and Africa in general,” he said. “In Ghana, we also have one of the strongest networks, which we’ve strengthened further by signing several new agreements. The most recent is with a highly experienced operator in the Europe-to-Africa corridors, First African Remittances,” he concluded.
In October 2015 Ria announced a partnership with Ghana’s largest indigenous financial institution, GCB Bank, which has locations across all 10 regions in Ghana. GCB’s managing director, Simon Dornoo, said that Ria’s global network would afford GCB the opportunity to mobilise remittances from Ghanaians in the diaspora to their relatives at home.
Ria’s El Hadji Malick Seck, who also spoke at the conference, said Ghana had become very important in the remittances business in West Africa because of its diaspora population and market behaviours.
Seck, who leads a team of money transfer specialists from Dakar, Senegal, also believes that service is one of the key differentiators between Ria and other money transfer operators. “Ria has a reputation for providing good service in Ghana. We receive a lot of feedback from our bank partners saying that the response time from our customer service team is second to none. Customers also speak very highly of the cooperative and professional support received from our team in Dakar and that’s something I’m very proud of,” he explained.
During another press event in March this year, where Ria announced its collaboration with Capital Bank in Ghana, head of remittances Adwoa Buadu also praised Ria’s service, commenting: “We have not only experienced world- class service from the Ria team, we have also experienced a money transfer service that is simple, reliable and secure and brings a smile to the faces of our many clients.”
Managing director of Capital Bank, the Rev Fitzgerald Odonkor, added that in today’s competitive landscape, speed and precision were both value drivers and that the partnership with Ria delivered on that. He also highlighted that good-quality remittance services have an important role to play in society.
“We believe that the real essence of this partnership is not necessarily about transferring money; it’s about impacting society. We believe remittance is about connecting families, building relationships, sharing love, helping to realise dreams and delivering hope to millions of people around the world,” he enthused.
That sentiment is something that Seck also agrees with. “Ria is always working to expand its network by partnering with banks, financial institutions, and post offices,” he said. “Our overall goal is to bring affordable money transfer to everyone that needs it and we will keep working to spread Ria’s orange wave further, until it reaches all corners of Africa.”