Back in 2012, the Hello Group did research into how its customers sent money home. “The results of this research were quite shocking. Customers were using illegal, informal channels which were very expensive, had a lack of transparency when it came to pricing and experienced delays” says Ahmed Cassim, Managing Director of Hello Paisa.
Hello Paisa was launched in 2015 with the aim of reducing costs and making it easier to send money to other countries. The company has forged strategic partnerships across the globe with banks, retailers, post offices and mobile network operators to take its money remittance business further. Cassim said that the company has chosen market leaders in the world of remittances when it selects who to partner with.
Nadir Khamissa, CEO of Hello Group, said that regulators have also been instrumental in making innovation possible for money remittance businesses. “The South African Reserve Bank deserves credit for their role in striking a balance between fostering innovations and protecting the financial system,” he said.
“Financial regulators have the difficult task of governing a critical industry that is at the beginning stages of a technological, digital and mobile revolution that has the ability to transform the African financial services and banking industry by growing the revenue pie whilst positively impacting the lives of millions of people at the base of the pyramid,” said Khamissa.
“Fintech entrepreneurs are working together with partners to enrich their ecosystems and offer richer value propositions to their customers. This collaborative mindset is unfortunately not shared by all players in the industry, with many incumbents trying to block new technologies and platforms that facilitate interoperability.”
He added that technology entrepreneurs, given the enabling regulatory environment, are the only ones capable of solving this problem whilst creating value for all parties. An example of Hello Paisa’s innovation in this space is its simple sign up process, whereby customers simply dial 13043556# from their mobile phones and select “call me back” from the resulting menu.
Once registered for the Hello Paisa service, customers can place orders through the company’s Android app or via its call center, and then settle transactions at any Hello Store, FNB, Shoprite, Pick n Pay or Spar stores countrywide.
Khamissa said that the problem of global remittances is so big that no single firm can solve them. To succeed, entrepreneurs in the space need to collaborate with an ecosystem of partners who will all share in the value created.
Hello Paisa and Hello Group achievements have been recognized in South Africa and on the continent. Amongst the accolades received include the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year for Southern Africa”, Swift Innotribe “African Startup Challenge” winners, Sanlam Business Partners “Innovator of the Year” and the Kalahari Award for “Best Mobile Remittance Service”.