Global digital money transfer firm WorldRemit has introduced a service that allows UK-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to make payments to their employees and contractors across the globe.
The new service, WorldRemit for Business, is now available to UK-registered businesses, with plans to expand to other countries. Using the Web or mobile app, the service allows businesses to seamlessly pay their employees and contractors in 140 countries worldwide, including fast-growing markets such as Ghana, Kenya and SA.
By extending its money transfer service to SMEs, WorldRemit says it aims to save businesses time and money when they make international payments.
The majority of companies still make international payments via their banks, despite high transaction fees and the often hidden costs levied on recipients.
Each year, the UK imports around $5.6 billion in goods and services from SA, where SMEs are estimated to make up 90% of formal businesses and provide 60% of employment.
According to WorldRemit, the new service will make it easier for local enterprises to receive payment by UK-based partners via their bank account or cash pick-up. While some banks can take up to one week to process payments, WorldRemit says its transfers to SA are processed within 24 hours or less.
"Over the past nine years, WorldRemit has made it easier for four million people around the globe to send and receive money," says Andrew Stewart, MD of Middle East and Africa at WorldRemit.
"Today, we're pleased to extend that service offering from consumers to businesses and put an end to the steep fees that many have to pay, especially when sending money to South Africa. We're committed to making it quick, safe and easy for you to pay individuals across borders, leaving you to focus on growing your own business."
WorldRemit for Business enters a competitive market, taking on global transfer business giants including Western Union, TransferWise, Venstar Exchange, XE Money Transfer and Mastercard Send.
WorldRemit's global headquarters are in London, UK, with offices in the US, Canada, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and SA (since 2017).
For consumers sending and receiving money, the company offers a range of options, including bank deposit, cash collection and mobile airtime top-up, and mobile money.
Customers sending funds abroad can track their transfers in real-time on the WorldRemit app, with the opt-in option enabling them to receive daily exchange notifications to send money abroad at the optimal time.
WorldRemit says its customers complete over 1.4 million transfers every month from over 50 countries to over 140 destinations using its app or Web site.
Shane Lennox, senior product manager for business at WorldRemit, comments: "With more people moving and settling across borders, the nature of business is becoming increasingly global.
"This new product offering is catering for those in need of a digital service that solves a number of pain points faced by SMEs with international staff and contractors. This new product launch will enable millions of SMEs to benefit from our convenient service."
In January, the financial services company launched its low-cost digital money transfer service locally, allowing South Africans to send money to over 150 destinations worldwide.
It had been allowing overseas users to send money to SA since 2011, but South Africans could not previously send money out of the country.
In 2017, WorldRemit raised $40 million in funding with a Series C round led by LeapFrog Investments, a private investment firm with a focus on emerging markets.
Over the years, the company has been on an expansion drive, bringing its services to millions of customers across the globe, particularly in Africa, which it considers a crucial market. It is eyeing a 30% market share in SA over the next three years.