Learn all about global remittance business Mukuru.
The story of how we empower migrants to move money around the world,
and the why behind all that we do.
Who Is Mukuru
Mukuru enables our customers to move money around the world. We use the latest mobile and web-based technologies to deliver the safest and most efficient experience possible. But that’s just half the story. To really understand us, you need to know the why behind all we do.
We exist as a remittances business to empower migrants typically excluded from mainstream financial services, to move money in a convenient, safe and affordable way. We know that every customer has a story; just as we do. So whether sending money home for school fees, the purchasing of seeds and farming equipment, hospital bills, rent or groceries, we are passionate about making each story end well.
2004 – Founded
Mukuru is created in the United Kingdom when a simple platform is designed that allows a person in London to buy an international talk time voucher, confirmed by text message; to connect with family in Zimbabwe (it’s not possible at this time to dial into or out of Zimbabwe).
2006 – First offering
Fuel coupons and groceries are added to international talk time. The service is usable only from the UK.
2009 – Remittance Begins
A platform is developed to enable migrant workers to send USD from the UK and EU to their families in Zimbabwe. Partners are activated in the destination country to make sending and receiving remittances easier, safer and more affordable.
2010 – Our First Partnership
The Mukuru business in South Africa is formed from a joint venture with Inter-Africa, a Bureau de Change. Most migrant workers are sending home remittances by informal means; this is expensive, unreliable and dangerous even. Mukuru grows its technology to enable safer, more reliable electronic remittances and expands its contact centre to communicate with customers in their own languages.
2012 – Expands Into New African Markets
Technology is developed to aid people in their personal journeys toward financial inclusion. This includes an easily accessible free self-service and army of agents equipped with an Android app to sign-up and serve customers wherever they live. Mukuru spearheads a new way to capture KYC (Know your Customer) documents with the support of the South African Reserve Bank. Customers are verified by agents who capture and verify documents like passports and asylum papers at the customer’s place of residence. Instead of being an obstacle, compliance becomes an enabler.
Mukuru creates a free customer USSD platform and again innovates by splitting a transaction into its various parts. Customers can now create an order, a reference number is texted to them, which they present at a retail partner and pay for their order in cash. PEP becomes Mukuru’s first retail partner in South Africa.
New Territories And Opportunities
Additional needs and opportunities become apparent with a new customer base that is largely unbanked. The Mukuru Card (backed by Standard Bank) is created to enable customers to have their salaries paid into a money account, shop electronically and pay for remittances.
Mukuru applies for financial services licences in destination countries and creates its own branch presence, along with customer application agent services and the USSD self-help channel.
Mukuru brings Asia onboard, working with aggregators in a two year pilot project to ensure efficiency in a new market that demands a richer front-end experience and more sophisticated technological solutions. Mukuru entrenches its presence in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
A Mukuru Orange Booth network is launched during the Zimbabwe cash crisis. The booths enable families back home to receive cash when they need it most. A corresponding app is developed to ensure service to customers remains uninterrupted.
DRC, Namibia, Ethiopia and Ghana join the Mukuru family.
2018 – Intra-Africa Remittances Flows
Mukuru activates intra-Africa remittance flows. This significantly increases volume and places its systems under pressure. Using a micro-services approach, Mukuru creates its own FinTech solutions to allow for larger volumes and an increasing compliance framework to accommodate regulations in its various countries of operation.
2019 – Africa Market Continues To Grow
Mukuru onboards Uganda, Eswatini and Tanzania. It launches business WhatsApp which soon accounts for 25 percent of its transactions. Mukuru starts work on the upgrade of its app and focuses on its information security capabilities and optimising system performance during peak periods.
Mukuru carries out three transactions every second and is recognised as a strong FinTech brand with a loyal customer base.
2020 – Innovation From New Challenges
Mukuru expands into China.
It purchases several hundred Zoona booths in Malawi which significantly broadens the company’s rural reach.
Mukuru has a global footprint with 60 partnerships that enable more than 100 brands to provide cash out points. Plans include expansion of its Orange Booths and increasing its ability to accommodate the intra-Africa flow of remittances.
The COVID-19 pandemic creates increased uptake of USSD and WhatsApp direct sign-up and demand for electronic products. Mukuru launches Mukuru Groceries and Mukuru Shopping Discounts.
Mukuru partners with WorldRemit to become a payout partner for WorldRemit remittances across territories where Mukuru has its own booth and branch network.
Mukuru is listed as one of the leading 150 cross-border businesses globally in the 2020 FXC Intelligence Incumbents vs Challengers in Cross-Border Payments.