Press release by Mikemusa (Pvt) Ltd
Mobile money is finally a reality for Zimbabweans in the diasporas. After six years in the cooking pot, as we would say in Zimbabwe, mikemusa Ltd is being launched this November. We’ve been working hard on our user friendly customer interface and are finally ready to pilot the first ever mobile wallet based money transfer service open to any Zimbabwean with a cell phone.
Our mobile payment system uses Tagattitude’s highly innovative Near Sound Data Transfer (NSDT™) technology to securely sign the transactions using the sender’s or recipient’s mobile phone. NSDT™ uses the audio channel of a mobile phone to transmit encrypted transactional data used to make secure transactions. This technology works with any mobile or telecom operator and there is nothing for to download on the phones. The result: Smart-card grade security using the mobile phone they already own.
How it works:
Zimbabweans abroad can access our services through www.mikemusa.com . During sign up a prepaid mobile wallet account is automatically created for them. This account is referred to as the m-cash account. Customers can then load funds onto their m-cash account through direct bank to bank online payment (suitable for customers with online banking facilities) or direct bank cash deposit, and this is most suitable for customers without bank accounts or online banking facilities. To send funds customers will simply enter the recipient’s name and phone number, the amount to be sent, and pick a secret passcode for the recipient. Senders can also enter a personalized text message which will be automatically sent to the recipient’s phone along with the transfer confirmation. The SMS only contains notification and is not instrumental to the payout transaction. Alternatively, senders can choose to remit on the go: All it takes is a simple phone call to our Interactive Voice Response (IVR) service which guides them through a transfer with verbal instructions.
In Zimbabwe, the recipient presents at the cashout point where they are asked to provide their identification card and passcode. The recipient can withdraw all or a portion of the funds they received using their cell phone for secure authentication. The recipient will then present to our pay out partners NMB (National Merchant Bank) who will process payout of remitted funds using our m-cash 1600 terminal, or online terminal.
Convenience and Speed. Our electronic remittance system offers the fastest and most secure transactions. Remittances made through conventional money transfer organizations are estimated to take up to a total of 4 hours on average. This includes a trip to the bank to withdraw funds, walk to the money transfer agent and completion of numerous forms. Recipients often face a much worse ordeal making a long and costly trip to payout agents are located. In contrast, mikemusa senders take no more than 10 minutes to complete a transaction.
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora work up to 60 hours per week and it is a big mission to send money home during working hours. Using our technology; customers can remit on the move or in the comfort of their own homes 24 hours a day.
Low Cost. mikemusa offers very attractive prices for remittances. At present remittance companies are charging up to 18% for every £100 remitted. This includes direct fees and other concealed profits/costs on exchange rates differentials. mikemusa costs half of the current market fees. In addition, recipients can withdraw their funds in increments over time and keep the remainder of their money on their m-cash account. This reduces the security risk of sending larger amounts and gives the recipients an easy way to manage their spending.
Flexibility. One distinguishing feature with our system is that it allows a customer to store value on their m-cash account. For example a customer can store £100 on their m-cash account, and can remit to numerous recipients until they exhaust the credit on their m-cash account. In addition, mikemusa is developing a network of retailers across urban and rural communities that would accept m-cash as a payment means. This gives customers the option of paying retailers directly using their phones without needing to get cash first. mikemusa is also developing bill payment and airtime topup services that will allow customers to pay for these services with the money in their m-cash account.
Ms Caroline Mapanzure is the Merchant Services Manager who is responsible for marketing operations and is busy establishing strategic relationships with our pay out partners, regulators, and agents who are comprised of retailers and Banking Institutions. She runs a vibrant department which is also doing ongoing assessment of customer technology acceptance models and behavior.
Security. Security is paramount to our operations; our system verifies the recipient’s mobile phone
number when they come to cash out remitted funds. If someone presents to cash out fraudulently our system will not recognize the mobile phone number and therefore will not payout. A recipient is linked to the mobile phone number indicated by the sender. Without providing this phone at the cashout point along with the correct ID card and pass code, no funds can be withdrawn from the m-cash account.
Accessibility. Our business model has a social twist to it. 70% of Zimbabwe population is classified as rural based. Many Zimbabweans abroad need to send money to rural-based beneficiaries but understand that the recipients will have to spend time and money traveling to cash out remitted funds in towns. City and town dwellers also have a financial connection with their rural based extended families and they also endure long and risky journeys to deliver cash to their relatives. mikemusa aims to reach out and form partnerships with local businesses to handle pay out on our behalf. These local businesses will also be able to accept m-cash as a payment means. As a result, rural recipients will be able to withdraw cash or purchase goods and services directly from their local businesses. This outreach service is under development and will be up and running shortly after the pilot.
Conclusion. We have been testing our mobile payment system on the UK-Zimbabwe corridor since August 2009 and the results are very positive. We have also recently started running tests in Ghana and Guinea Bissau.
We intend to donate a percentage of the revenues generated from each transaction processed to a nonprofit organization with operations in Zimbabwe. We are very aware of how important remittances and financial services are to the economic empowerment of the Zimbabwean population. By partnering with an NGO we hope to provide a second means of contributing to the development of our country. We are currently looking for an NGO to partner with and support and are open to suggestions.
For more information, visit our website www.mikemusa.com or drop us an email at,