Mukuru Partners with Global Payment Network Thunes

Mukuru’s recent inclusion in the iAMTN 2020 Annual Report: A Trend Driven by the Covid-19 Crisis – the Shift to Digitalisation in Cross-Border Remittances, highlights the importance of strong payment system interoperability that enables the scalability of digital remittance channels. Where this does exist, the global pandemic has been a catalyst for digital growth in the cross-border remittance space.

A case in point is the brand new Mukuru-Thunes partnership that expands our reach and connects our users to Thunes’ global interoperable network which operates in more than 100 countries. Thunes’ advanced technology streamlines the process of cross-border money transfer through a single API connection, resulting in greater speed and operational efficiencies.

Symbiotic partnerships shaping world banking

In many developing markets, savvy fintechs are leveraging symbiotic partnerships to bring financial services to users in a more affordable, accessible way than has previously been possible; accelerating financial inclusion for large swathes of previously unbanked users. These increasingly powerful alliances are shaping and developing world banking by taking users on a step-by-step journey to financial empowerment – with users becoming familiar with self-service onboarding and KYC procedures, for example, which can be increasingly achieved via mobile phone.

Regional alliances as a source of innovation and growth

Mukuru CEO Andy Jury, says, “Our partnerships continue to be a source of both innovation and growth across our network, with our homegrown technology solutions continually evolving to meet the day-to-day needs of our customers.” Jury adds, “We meet customers wherever they are, which today includes a variety of both physical and digital touchpoints across Africa, Europe and Asia.”

In fact, the Mukuru business in South Africa was initially launched in 2010 as a joint venture with Inter-Africa, a Bureau de Change. Two years later, the fintech created a free customer USSD platform, splitting a transaction into its various parts. Customers after creating an order, had a reference number texted to them, which they presented at a retail partner where they paid for the order in cash. PEP was Mukuru’s first retail partner in South Africa.

Other partnerships have followed with the likes of retail giant Shoprite/Checkers as payin/payout points, and in the last 12 months, Mukuru became a payout partner for WorldRemit customers across territories where Mukuru has its own booth and branch network. Mukuru has also partnered with the likes of Ozow which enables customers to make easy payments using the Mukuru App, and Flash aimed at senders in South Africa who can now send money to their loved ones by paying for their orders at any of Flash’s 175,000 vendors across South Africa.

A new partnership with global payment network Thunes will initially extend Mukuru’s reach in Nigeria followed by a rapid rollout to other corridors such as DRC, Ethiopia, Senegal and India.

Obey Itai Domingo, Thunes Business Development Director SADC, says, “Thunes is leading the way building a global cross-border payments network with real-time transaction processing. Our coverage across Africa, Europe, the Americas and APAC (Asia-Pacific) gives our customers the most accessible, fast, and reliable interoperable local payment solutions around the world.”

The upheavals and opportunities of the last 12 months have highlighted the importance of strong payment system interoperability that enables the scalability of digital remittance channels. The main point of congruence between Mukuru and Thunes is the use of technology that supports interoperability using highly automated, scalable platforms with modular APIs.

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