A number of remarkable figures from a study conducted by WorldRemit were cited. Over 2o,000 transactions are handled every month on the EcoCash/WorldRemit platform, far exceeding the average of 5,000 transactions for cash pickups.
The EcoCash and WorldRemit partnership has attracted more than 10,000 customers in over 30 markets, with 74% of these customers who use the Android and iOS apps acting as return customers.
All this points to the significance of partnerships in boosting the relevance of two distinct areas of businesses – mobile money and remittances.
Looking at the remittances market, which has always been a significant contributor towards capital inflows ($837 million was remitted through formal channels in 2014) most service providers in that space have struggled with delivering convenience to the recipient of the money and offering a favourable pricing model which has been attributed to the channels they use.
Through strategic partnerships, as has been the case with examples like EcoCash and WorldRemit, Western Union, Chitoro or MoneyGram and even Telecel and Mukuru, convenience is amplified and costs of remittances can be reduced.
This places an impetus on remittance services to identify partnerships with mobile money services in the local market. While EcoCash has been the more receptive mobile money service provider, there are still other mobile money entities that can be tapped for similar relationships.
It’s not just a win for traditional remittance services, though. Other than EcoCash and Telecash, the other mobile money services like OneWallet and Nettcash also need to jump at the opportunity being created by remittances concerns that are trying to deliver money into the wallets of their receiving customers.
An open door policy from all these mobile money services would not only improve their access to money within their respective ecosystems, it would also give opportunities to competing remittance services to spread their networks.
The success of platform-as-a-service types like mobile money lies in opening that platform up to service extensions, rather than holding on to it in its singular form. The sooner the holders of the platforms realise this, the easier they will tap into opportunities for expanded revenue.
It won’t be just the mobile money services and remittance services benefiting when that happens. The biggest winners are, of course, the sender and receiver of the money.
This logic is what gives merit to any argument on shared APIs or partnerships outside existing ecosystems. Sure, there can be successful attempts at delivering this individually, but it only lasts for so long, and the hurdles are sometimes too numerous to scale within a reasonable time.
A good example is how EcoCash took an extended period to activate its South African EcoCash diaspora service. Opening up to other service providers and partnering with them was the trick that gave the resounding results that are now being carried together with WorldRemit and any other remittance service for that matter.