© Wari Senegal


For over 20 years payment card
associations and national card schemes dominated the purchase at the merchant (EFT-POS) and cash withdrawal at the ATM. Their success relied on an affluent and banked population. Money transfers with paper cheques or electronic transfer were also limited to the banked. In the same period, international┬álabor migration intensified and the flow of workers’ remittances to their home countries grew six times larger. However, these money transfers were often cash-to-cash via specialized money transfer organizations or were transferred to the informal sector, and are costly. International and domestic payments can be made easier for unbanked people through the use of (pre-paid) cards and mobile phones, whilst proving to be less costly to handle for remittances and payment providers.


If you are a money transfer operator or payments provider, serious about offering alternative money transfer channels, you need to ask the following questions:

  • Would I link to an existing payment infrastructure or should I establish a new system?
  • Should I work with banks, MTOs, MNOs? Is it an open system that other parties can link to, or is that linked to another system? How to achieve interoperability between those parties? How does the business model look and is it aligned with the needs of the payers and the payees?
  • Should my payments solution be focused on domestic payments or is it linked to international systems?
  • How to organize an agent, ATM or POS network for clients to convert electronic or mobile balances into cash and vice versa?

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Oxfam Novib for INAFI: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal Tanzania and Uganda
ING: Romania and Italy
MFIC: Europe and Africa

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