Big things are happening in the Middle East and Africa

12.02.18
3 minute read

The Middle East & Africa (MEA) team is TransferWise’s newest regional team. We formed 8 months ago to focus on building a product for people looking to send money to and from MEA.

Since we formed, we’ve launched transfers to:

  • Israeli Shekels (ILS)
  • Nigerian Naira (NGN)
  • Kenyan Shillings (KES)
  • Egyptian Pounds (EGP)

As a team we also took the responsibility of making four existing currencies better:

  • South African Rand (ZAR)
  • UAE Dirham (AED)
  • Moroccan Dirham (MAD)
  • Turkish Lira (TRY)

In the past few months we’ve been working on a number of projects to make transfers to MEA faster, cheaper and easier, but here are just a few things we wanted to share with our customers sending money to MEA.

Nigeria: Open for business again

We restarted transfers to Nigeria, after new regulations from the Central Bank of Nigeria gave us confidence in our ability to offer a competitive product to our customers. Transfers from verified customers are paid out in Naira within minutes of us receiving the money — most transfers to Nigeria from the UK are in the recipient’s bank account in less than 20 minutes.

While we verify the vast percentage of customers automatically, we still have some manual intervention to make sure everyone’s money is safe. We’re continuing to build out our automation capabilities to give more people an instant experience.

Kenya and Egypt: Up and running

We launched transfers to M-PESA wallets and bank accounts in Kenya. According to Monito.com we’re proud to say we’re one of the cheapest providers sending from the UK, Europe or the US to Kenya. We’ve seen great take-up of M-PESA transfers, with the majority of our transfers to Kenya being paid out to the mobile wallet.

Just a few weeks ago we also opened up transfers to Egypt. Customers can now pay out to EGP accounts in all Egyptian banks.

Turkey: Faster and easier than ever – now for businesses, too

Previously we needed to collect a lot of information from our customers before they could send money to Turkey. Now, though, it’s a lot easier — you only need the recipient’s IBAN to make a transfer.

We’re now sending out transfers many times per day in Turkey, so if we receive your money during Turkish banking hours your recipient will receive it the same day.

In other good news, customers can now send money to businesses in Turkey.

Borderless accounts: Pay and get paid like a local

Customers throughout the Middle East and Africa can open up a TransferWise multi-currency borderless account to get local account details in the UK, the Eurozone and Australia.

With local account details you can receive funds like a local. For a low, transparent fee you can convert these funds at the mid-market rate to store in a wallet within TransferWise, or to send to a bank account in any of our supported currencies.

Next steps

We’re very excited about the future in the MEA region. With more and more people accessing digital financial services, whether it is through a bank, a mobile wallet or another way, it’s getting easier to send, receive and spend money across borders.

We hope we can be major contributors in smashing the UN’s goal to bring the cost of remittances down by leveraging technology, and help fulfil TransferWise’s mission of making money transfers instant, convenient, transparent and eventually free.

We have some big things brewing, and hope to be able to share them with you soon.

Onwards,

The MEA Team

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