New international money transfer service opens in Kenya;Global Money Transfer Ltd
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has licensed a new global money transfer company to operate an office in Kenya signalling competition for international money transfer business in the country.
Competition in the international money transfer business in Kenya has heightened with a new worldwide entrant, Global Money Transfer Limited. During official launch of the firm, speakers urged forex and remittance bureaus to abide by the law and refrain from allowing money laundering and terrorism financing in their operations. This comes as the Kenya Forex and Remittance Association says its members will adopt the use of the biometric system in customer transactions by the end of the year.
Towards the end of 2015, CBK gave Global Money Transfer Ltd a green light to start operating a money remittance office in Nairobi. On Thursday, the move saw the company open its doors to the public.
The CBK, in its assessment and upon thorough inspection of the firm’s premises at Teleposta Towers on December 22last year found Global Money Transfer Ltd suitable for conducting money remittance business.
“You may therefore proceed and commence business,” a CBK letter to the firm says.
The firm’s Commercial Director Abdullahi Shariff said Global Money Transfer Ltd has the exclusive agreement with respected international money transfer switch Taaj Service. This allows a wider reach than the existing providers with customers being able to send and receive money from more than 200 locations around the world.
Kenyans in the Diaspora especially those friom United Kingdom, Canada, United States and Australia will be able to access the service at any Taaj branded outlet.
For instance, in the UK alone, one of Kenya’s biggest sources of Diaspora remittances, the services can be accessed at over 62 outlets giving it a bigger edge over most competitors.
To send money, a customer will walk into a Global Money Transfer Ltd outlet with the money they intend to send. They will then undergo the various Know Your Customer checks, give the details of the recipient and with the cashier’s click on the send button, the money sent reflects at the recipient’s intended point of collection. The receiver then gets an instant notification on their mobile phone upon which they can collect the cash.
“The real fight is in the speed,” said Shariff during the launch. “You can also instruct us to send money directly to a recipient’s mobile phone”
Here in Kenya, the services can be received at 16 outlets located in major towns including Nairobi, Mombasa, Garrisa and Mandera with plans to double that in the next three years.
Shariff explained that unlike the present situation where customers receiving funds from abroad have to sometimes lose some of it during the forex exchange, the new provider will give you the money sent to you in the exact amount and denomination sent.
“No forex conversions or hidden charges or commissions,” he said. “If your relative or business partner sends you $1000, you receive $1000.” The person sending the money is, in most of the circumstances, the one charged.
The Kenya Forex and Remittance Association chairman Anthony Wachira said the industry has come up with stiffer regulations on anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CFT) given the challenging environment they are operating in due to terrorism and money laundering.
“As an umbrella body, we are working to ensure we have synergy in terms of compliance with the above regulations in conjunction with the regulator and the Financial Reporting Centre,” Wachira said.
On its part, Global Money Transfer Ltd, said with the help of the CBK, they have trained their staff on the Know Your Customer regulations as well as on anti-money laundering regulations and are implementing the same.
“Our filtering system is very and will continue to be very rigorous,” said Shariff. We have to ensure that the right people are sending money and that the right people are receiving the money.