Transforming Cross-Border Payments

Date

August 29, 2023

|

7 min read

Cover Image for Transforming Cross-Border Payments

How Wewire Africa is Bridging the Gap from Africa to Tier One Countries

Introduction

Cross-border payments have long been a challenge for individuals and businesses in Africa seeking to engage with tier-one countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe. The complex web of regulations, high costs, and limited access to traditional financial services have hindered economic growth and international trade. However, the fintech revolution is changing the game, as innovative startups such as Wewire Africa are emerging to solve these long-standing issues and facilitate seamless cross-border transactions. In this article, I will explore the challenges of cross-border payments out of Africa to tier-one countries and how Wewire Africa is stepping in to bridge this gap.


The Challenges of Cross-Border Payments from Africa

1. High Transaction Costs: Traditional banks and financial institutions have historically charged exorbitant fees for cross-border transactions. These costs can significantly eat into the funds being sent and received, making it less appealing for individuals and businesses to engage in international trade and financial activities.

2. Slow Transaction Speeds: Traditional cross-border payment methods can take several days or even weeks to complete. This lag in transaction times can be especially detrimental in business contexts where timely payments are critical for operations.

3. Limited Access to Banking Services: In many African countries, a substantial portion of the population remains unbanked or underbanked. This lack of access to formal financial services makes it difficult for individuals to send and receive international payments. Almost every transaction requires you to head to a physical banking hall and spend hours in queues.

4. Foreign Exchange Complexity: Currency exchange is a significant hurdle in cross-border transactions. Converting local currency to foreign currency, often at unfavourable exchange rates, can result in significant losses for individuals and businesses.

5. Regulatory Challenges: Stringent regulations and compliance requirements can vary widely from one African country to another, adding complexity to cross-border payments. Navigating these regulations is often a daunting task.

6. Lack of adequate Liquidity: Banks in Africa generally do have enough FX liquidity to supply the needs of import businesses, multi-national businesses and fund managers who regularly need to transfer out millions of dollars. This is a result of inadequate allocation of FX from central banks to the local banks.


Wewire Africa’s Solutions for Cross-Border Payments

Fintech companies are emerging as champions in addressing these challenges and revolutionizing cross-border payments in Africa. Here's how we are making a difference:

1. Lower Transaction Costs: Wewire Africa offers competitive pricing compared to traditional banks, reducing the fees associated with cross-border payments. Transparent fee structures ensure that customers know exactly what they are paying for. We charge 0.5% for cross-border payments compared to the 1 to 5% charged by competitors and traditional banks

2. Faster Transaction Speeds: Wewire Africa leverages digital technologies and blockchain to expedite cross-border transactions. Some transfers now occur within hours, compared to the days or weeks it might take through traditional channels. Depending on the market you are transferring funds to it should hit the recipient within 24hrs

3. Wider Accessibility: Wewire Africa makes financial services more accessible to the unbanked and underbanked populations in Africa. Through web apps and digital wallets, individuals can initiate and receive cross-border payments with ease.

4. Efficient Currency Exchange: Wewire Africa offers competitive exchange rates and convenient currency conversion services. This reduces the costs associated with currency conversion and minimizes losses due to unfavourable rates. For comparison, I used my local bank card to buy something online which was a rate of 12.25 GHS to $1, same day I used my Wewire Africa virtual card to make a transaction and the exchange rate was 11.88 GHS to $1.

5. Compliance and Regulatory Support: Wewire Africa has dedicated teams to navigate the complex web of international regulations and compliance requirements. This ensures that cross-border transactions are conducted legally and transparently. We’ve invested heavily in compliance tools to track real-time transactions our customers are doing


Conclusion

Wewire Africa is a multi-currency payment platform designed to empower businesses engaged in international trade. It enables businesses to conduct transactions across Africa and beyond, unlocking the true potential of borderless banking. Wewire Africa offers faster cross-border transactions with virtual accounts that hold and payout money into multiple currencies with your WeWire account. It also offers virtual cards for businesses that empower them to manage expenses, streamline payments, and gain control over transactions. Wewire Africa is operating with an MSB license from Canada with a presence in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, USA, UAE and the UK. The company has processed over $400m in transaction volume since inception.

Written by: Ebenezer Ghanney, Co-founder and CEO of Wewire Africa.

Ebenezer has 6+ years of experience in the Fintech & FX space. He is an experienced FX trader who has generated a lot of revenue and cost savings for his clients over the years. He has successfully executed trades of over USD 400 million from 2021 to date. He successfully led the growth of Wewire in Ghana and the expansion into other markets (Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, UAE, USA and Canada). Obtained a license for the company in Canada.

Prior to launching Wewire, He was the Country Operations Manager for Yellow Card in Ghana, where he built the retail business to 150k+ users and over USD 20 million in transaction volume in the first year of operation.

Before Yellow Card, He worked with Liquid Financial, where he led business development, User Experience testing and Customer Acquisition. He also founded 2 now-defunct startups between 2017 to 2021. The learnings from past projects have influenced how Wewire was built from the ground up.

Academically, he holds a BSc. Accounting from the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA). He’s also a certified securities analyst by the Ghana Stock Exchange.

Related stories
Cover Image for How to Plan for Your UK Visit from Nigeria

How to Plan for Your UK Visit from Nigeria

Planning to Visit the United Kingdom from Nigeria? Here are things you must know to have a hitch-free trip.

Article Outline:

  • Introduction
  • Preparing for Your UK Visit
  • Applying for a UK Visa as a Nigerian
  • Paying for IHS Fees
  • Booking Flights to the UK
  • Current Payment Methods for International Travel and Their Drawbacks
  • Introducing Wirewire's Virtual Dollar Card
  • Why Choose Wirewire's Virtual Dollar Card?
  • Getting Started with Wirewire's Virtual Dollar Card
  • Conclusion

Introduction:

The United Kingdom is a great travel destination that attracts people globally who visit for different purposes such as tourism, education, etc. Planning a trip to the United Kingdom from Nigeria is exciting, but thinking about managing your finances for the journey can be challenging. Fortunately, with Wirewire's Virtual Dollar Card, you can simplify your payment needs and make the most of your UK experience. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the steps to plan your UK visit seamlessly using Wirewire's Virtual Dollar Card. We will also cover the visa application process, paying IHS fees, and booking flights to the UK.

Preparing for Your UK Visit

Before you start preparing for your travel, here are some things you can do to make your planning easy.

  • Consider converting your Naira to US dollars to load onto a dollar card provider like Wewire Africa’s Virtual Dollar card to make it easier to pay for the things you'd need before your trip.
  • Research the current exchange rates for better planning.
  • Create a budget for your UK visit, including accommodation, food, transportation, and activities.

Applying for a UK Visa as a Nigerian

Visa Application Process

  1. Visit the official UK government website to initiate your visa application.
  2. Complete the online application form, providing accurate information.
  3. Schedule an appointment at the Visa Application Center (VAC) for biometrics and document submission.
  4. Pay the visa application fee, which varies based on the type of visa you are applying for. Here. You must pay using a card that can process foreign currency transactions, such as the Wewire Africa virtual dollar card.

Paying for IHS Fees

If you’re going to be in the United Kingdom for an extended period, for example, traveling for your education there, you would need to get health insurance and pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). Here's how to make the required payment


  • After your visa application is approved, you will receive instructions to pay the IHS fee.
  • Log in to the official UK government website to make the payment.
  • Use a trusted card provider like your Wirewire Virtual Dollar Card for a secure and convenient transaction.

Booking Flights to the UK

You'd need to book a flight after securing your visa and establishing travel dates.

  1. Use reliable online travel agencies or airline websites to search for flights to the UK.
  2. Compare prices, flight options, and airlines to find the best deals.
  3. Pay for your flight tickets using your Wirewire Virtual Dollar Card for a smooth and secure transaction.

Current Payment Methods for International Travel and Their Drawbacks


  • Traditional Credit/Debit Cards: High foreign transaction fees and unfavorable exchange rates.
  • Currency Exchange Services: High commissions, less favorable rates, and inconvenience.
  • Cash: Risk of theft, limited acceptance, and exchange hassles.

Introducing Wirewire Africa's Virtual Dollar Card

Wirewire Africa's Virtual Dollar Card is a secure and convenient payment solution that allows you to transact in US dollars while traveling abroad. It's a digital card linked to your Wirewire account, providing ease and flexibility in managing your finances internationally.

Why Choose Wirewire Africa Virtual Dollar Card?

  • Competitive Exchange Rates: Wirewire offers competitive exchange rates, ensuring you get the most value for your money.
  • Security: Your financial data is protected with state-of-the-art security measures.
  • Worldwide Acceptance: The Virtual Dollar Card is widely accepted, making it ideal for international travel.
  • Ease of Use: It's user-friendly and can be easily managed through the Wirewire mobile app.


Why choose the Wewire Africa Virtual Dollar Card while preparing for your UK trip

Use your Wirewire Virtual Dollar Card for various payments, such as hotel bookings, flight bookings, travel insurance, online shopping, and more.

  • Enjoy the convenience of making payments in US dollars.

Tracking Your Expenses: The Wirewire customer app tracks your expenses in real time. Easily monitor your Virtual Dollar Card transactions and view your remaining balance.

Getting Started with Wirewire's Virtual Dollar Card

To start using Wewire Africa's dollar cards, take the following steps.

  • Log in to your Wirewire account or create one if you don't have it.
  • Create wallets for your local currency and USD
  • Deposit your local currency and then swap to USD afterward
  • Locate the option to request a Virtual Dollar Card.
  • Follow the prompts to generate your card details.

Conclusion:

Planning your UK visit from Nigeria becomes a breeze with Wirewire's Virtual Dollar Card. This secure and flexible payment solution ensures you can enjoy your trip without worrying about financial hassles.

Say goodbye to excessive fees and unfavorable exchange rates and embrace the convenience of making payments in US dollars with Wirewire.

Make the smart choice today and experience a hassle-free UK visit with Wirewire's Virtual Dollar Card.

Stay connected to our blog for more insights and expert advice on international travel finance. We wish you a most memorable stay in the United Kingdom.


Cover Image for My Experience Interning At Wewire

My Experience Interning At Wewire

In this blog, I will be sharing my experience at WeWire Africa, a company dedicated to empowering African communities through innovative
technology solutions.

My name is Gerard Ruben Tei, a final-year student at IPMC University
studying business computing and information.
In today's interconnected world, technology has the power to transform lives and bridge gaps like never before. Companies that harness this potential for positive change stand out, and one such organization is WeWire Africa.


When I joined WeWire Africa, I knew I had become a part of something special. The office exuded a vibrant energy, with murals depicting
African landscapes. It was an inspiring space that set the tone for the inclusive and collaborative environment within the company. Regardless of our roles or backgrounds, we all shared a common goal: using technology to make a
lasting impact.

At WeWire Africa, I had the privilege of working on projects that mattered. Wewire Africa focuses on sectors like trading, education, Marketing, and products. This meant that every day brought new challenges and opportunities to create meaningful change.

One of the standout aspects of WeWire Africa was its unwavering
commitment to personal and professional growth. The company recognized that its employees were its greatest asset and invested in their development.

Regular training sessions kept us abreast of the latest technologies and
industry trends. We were also encouraged to take ownership of our growth by pursuing certifications and exploring new areas of interest. This culture of continuous learning propelled us forward and empowered us to contribute our best.


The spirit of collaboration was deeply ingrained in WeWire Africa's DNA.
Teams worked closely together, pooling their diverse expertise to find
innovative solutions. Ideas flowed freely, and everyone's input was valued.
The flat hierarchy and open communication culture fostered an environment where collaboration thrived, enabling us to tackle complex challenges and drive impactful outcomes.

WeWire Africa is more than just a company; it's a
community where everyone feels supported and inspired. The most rewarding aspect of my time at WeWire Africa was witnessing the
tangible impact of our work. Whether it was enabling small businesses to
thrive through P2P platforms. Knowing that our efforts contributed to African communities' economic growth and well-being fueled our
passion and motivation.

Beyond the challenging projects and professional growth, WeWire Africa
fostered a culture of care and well-being. The company's commitment to
diversity and inclusion created an environment where everyone felt respected and valued, regardless of their background.
My experience at WeWire Africa was truly transformative. The company's
unwavering dedication to empowering communities through technology made it an exceptional workplace.

WeWire Africa taught me the power of
leveraging technology for positive change and showed me what can be
achieved when passionate individuals come together with a shared purpose. I am grateful for the invaluable lessons and experiences I gained at WeWire Africa, and I will continue to champion the mission of using
technology to create a brighter future.

Cover Image for How OTC Trading is solving cross-border payments for African  businesses

How OTC Trading is solving cross-border payments for African businesses

Introduction

In the Financial Services space today, Over-The-Counter (OTC) trading is fast becoming a pivotal force. This article will examine how OTC trading is utilized within the financial services industry, emphasizing its role in revolutionizing cross-border payments using Wewire Africa as a case study.

Understanding OTC and Cross-Border Payments

Over-the-counter (OTC) trading is a popular way of buying and selling assets without relying on an intermediary. OTC trading allows both parties to negotiate directly with each other, avoiding price slippage and accessing higher liquidity.

Cross-border payments are payments from one country to another, usually involving different currencies.

A business might need to send money from one country or continent to another for many reasons.

For context, in Africa today, a business in Nigeria that needs to send money to Ghana will have first to convert the local currency, which is the Naira, to USD and then send USD to Ghana.

OTC trading is fast becoming the preferred way to tackle the many bottlenecks of cross-border payment. OTC trading's relative ease of implementation and practical usefulness to customers have made it attractive for providers trying to move transaction volumes quickly.


The Current Landscape of Cross-Border Payments


According to
research, the B2B Payments Market Size was valued at USD 1,324.43 billion in 2022 and is anticipated to reach USD 1,589.56 billion in 2023. It is projected to reach USD 2,456.76 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 9.2% during the forecast period (2023-2031). However, challenges such as high transaction fees, currency exchange rates, and compliance with regulations and tax laws must be addressed to streamline B2B payments and improve efficiency. In Africa, Diverse payment systems, currency fluctuations, and limited banking infrastructure have hindered African cross-border payments. High costs, additional fees, and security concerns further complicate transactions.

OTC in Cross-Border Payments: A New Approach

One of the most significant applications of OTC trading is in the realm of cross-border payments. Traditional methods of international fund transfers have long grappled with high fees, slow processing times, and volatile exchange rates. OTC trading provides a solution by facilitating direct currency exchanges, reducing costs, and expediting transaction times.

Platforms like Wewire Africa harness cutting-edge OTC platforms and technologies to facilitate cross-border payments. This ensures transaction speed, easy customer accessibility, and secure and transparent transactions.

When a customer who lives in Nigeria and has Naira in his possession needs to pay his supplier in China, for example, for raw materials, there's a need to look for Yuan, which is the Chinese currency. Hence, a currency trade has to be made.

OTC Trading flow

Currency trading is the process of buying and selling currencies. When a customer needs to move money from one currency to another, a trade has to happen, trading his currency for the currency needed, like buying and selling. Depending on the transaction volume, The customer comes to an OTC trader such as Wewire Africa and explains his specific needs. Then, an offer is made. This means that rates are agreed upon, and the trading team completes the transaction.



Advantages of OTC Trading in Cross-Border Payments

Adopting OTC solutions for cross-border payments by Wewire Africa translates into tangible benefits, especially for users. Users experience expedited transaction times, reduced fees, and increased accessibility. The flexibility of OTC trading enables Wewire Africa to tailor its services to the unique needs of cross-border transactions.

When asked, one of Wewire’s customers, Mr Roger Gbeve of Maison T'acier, a steel manufacturing company with a presence in 3 African countries, said that before he started using Wewire Africa, he would usually have to go to the bank for his cross-border payments needed by his business. Still, he was never sure that the banks would be completely helpful. With Wewire Africa, he always has the foreign currency he needs to pay his suppliers or sort out his business operations across multiple geographies, which was made possible by OTC trading. Some reasons why customers prefer Wewire Africa for OTC trading in cross-border transactions include

  1. Volume of transaction
  2. Ability to negotiate price
  3. Liquidity availability
  4. Security or Safety
  5. The human factor

Mitigating Challenges and Risks of OTC Trading in Cross-border Payments

While OTC trading offers substantial benefits, acknowledging potential challenges and risks is crucial. Wewire Africa addresses these risks by ensuring thorough regulatory compliance, security, and innovative security measures on the digital platform. For any customer to be able to perform a transaction, they must have completed their verification with complete background checks, as well as had their business verified to be legitimate.

Conclusion

In conclusion, OTC trading has become a dynamic force within the financial services industry, especially in making cross-border payments accessible globally.

You're better off going the OTC route as a business owner who utilizes large liquidity in multiple currencies and across different countries for business transactions.

Contact Wewire Africa to get a quote today. Visit the website or send an email to Hello@wewireafrica.com to get started now.