PiP iT joined Dotforge in Spring 2015.
The remittance market is dominated by established money transfer brands as there are very few ways for migrants to send money home. Bank transfers are rare as it is difficult for the migrant to open a bank account in their host country. The number of bank accounts in home countries are even rarer, with some African countries having as little as 10% of adults having a bank account. With no bank accounts, there are no credit or debit cards to transfer from. The migrant can buy a pre-paid card in his/her host country, but cannot transfer that to an individual at home.
This leaves migrants with little choice but to use expensive cash transfer services, with fees up to 12% of the transaction value.
Money is sent home generally to pay the family bills, be it the basics of light and water or expenses such as school or medical fees.
Our new PiP iT/Interpay Africa partnership enables migrants from West Africa living in UK to pay, with cash in any UK Post Office, family bills in their home country.
People do not remit the money, they pay the bills directly.
The system is simple to use. The person living in UK logs onto Interpay Africa site and creates a free account. They can then select a service they want to pay on behalf of a family member in their home country. Once they select the amount, a bar code is generated which is sent to their phone. This bar code can be presented in any Post Office in the UK and paid like any domestic bill.
This is a ‘closed loop’ system where payment is made to a company or institution, not to an individual. This removes the risk associated with remittance which means the combined PiP iT, Interpay and Post Office fees are a fraction of sending money home.
Now Live in Ghana
Phase One of the PiP iT Bill Pay Service is now live in Ghana. Customers can load cash into a InterpayAfrica.com ewallet. From there they will be able to select bills they want to pay.
In the coming weeks we will be live with the following services:
PiP iT is a Societal Enterprise and our social mission is at the heart of everything we do. By creating this service, we make it possible and people from Ghana living in the UK (95,000 approximately) to pay bills directly and to make significant savings on fees. This means they can pay more bills at home improving the quality of life for their families.
For us, this is a tremendous start, but we want to help as many people as possible. We will measure the social impact of our Bill Pay service based on estimated savings made by using our service as opposed to remitting money. This will be a key metric by which we will measure our success. We plan on reporting on our progress.
Outside of savings that can be made, the first phase of services we work with are also chosen to have social impact.
Top of this list is the . In Ghana the majority of people are self-employed with low earnings and there is no state pension. This means a huge number of people fall into poverty when they get to retirement age. The People’s Pension Trust was set up specifically to enable this segment of society to create a pension to prepare for their retirement. It is a group pension scheme where members can lodge random amounts as they have it and the total fund is management by the Trust. With PiP iT/Interpay Africa, Ghanaians can now lodge money directly into the pension of a family member to help them secure their future.
Also on the list are life assurance, education protection, affordable energy, internet connectivity, and financial literacy providers.
We have started in Ghana as it’s the home country of Interpay, but over the coming months additional phases will be launched with the service growing to cover additional billers, but also additional countries.