The announcement today at MoneyConf 2017 in Spain makes the U.K.-based fintech startup one of the first cross-border remittance firms to support Android Pay globally.
Founded out of London in 2010, WorldRemit targets migrants with a service that lets them send money to their families back home. Though there is no shortage of options for sending money abroad, including Western Union, WorldRemit promises a number of advantages, such as speed of transfer, lower fees, and guaranteed exchange rates. Additionally, all transactions can be carried out through WorldRemit’s smartphone app. The person receiving the transfer only needs a standard “dumb” phone, which can be used to obtain the cash through a mobile money account, or the sender can stipulate a physical cash pickup or airtime top-up.
WorldRemit has raised around $150 million since its inception, including a $45 million round last February, and the company claims that its users make around 600,000 payments from 50 countries to more than 140 markets around the world every month.
Google’s mobile payment service is now available in around 13 markets, including such popular migrant markets as the U.S., U.K, Australia, and Canada.
WorldRemit users in markets where Android Pay isn’t available, or where smartphones are preclusively expensive, can still receive payments directly into their mobile money account. For the uninitiated, mobile money allows people to receive money and make payments using a simple mobile phone, where their phone number essentially serves as their bank account number. It’s particularly popular in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and the mobile money service is usually run by the local telecom companies.
Mobile money payments don’t rely on internet access, meaning recipients can make payments (e.g. utility bills) directly from their accounts across a standard cellular network via SMS.
“Currently, 60 percent of WorldRemit app users are on Android, which is also by far the most popular mobile operating system in the developing world, where 2 billion people are still unbanked, but critically half-a-billion use their mobiles as a bank account,” noted WorldRemit product VP Alice Newton-Rex. “This integration with Android Pay is the next logical step of our mobile first approach, and continues our commitment to providing greater financial inclusion.”