Nation Media Group (NMG) has signed a contract with a digital payments firm that will enable Kenyans in the diaspora to directly send money back home from their bank accounts through NationHela.
The deal with Mumbai-based online cross-border remittances provider TimesofMoney allows NationHela users in Europe and Asia to transfer money directly from their accounts abroad to a mobile phone wallet or Kenyan bank account.
NationHela, powered by Diamond Trust Bank, is taking to technology to provide speedy, convenient and cheaper remittances targeting the large Kenyan community in the diaspora.
“The simplicity and innovativeness of the platform, which eliminates the usual hassle associated with international money transfers has seen it gain customers rapidly,” said Tom Mshindi, chief operating officer, Nation Media Group.
Recipients will receive the funds in Kenya shillings, which they can access via the NationHela, mobile phone or bank accounts, removing the risk of cash handling associated with other channels.
This partnership also means that NationHela customers have easier access to their funds and enjoy the convenience of reloading their cards anytime, anywhere in the world.
NMG launched NationHela in August last year, seeking to leverage on its brand identity and massive online readership to win a share of the lucrative diaspora remittance market.
It is also a prepaid debit Visa card, hence can be used to pay utility bills, shop online and withdraw cash from ATMs and the funds can be transferred to mobile wallets such as M-Pesa.
NMG plans to grow NationHela subscriber base threefold from the 12,000 card holders at the end of August this year to 35,000 by December.
The firm’s flagship portal — www.nation.co.ke —averages 60 million views every month, with about 40 per cent of these from the diaspora, making it the biggest website in the region in terms of traffic.
“With its growing diaspora, Africa has a huge remittance potential, which makes it a key focus market for us,” said Avijit Nanda, chief executive of TimesofMoney.
Kenya’s diaspora inflows have been growing at an average of 30 per cent in the last three years, reaching Sh99.4 billion ($1.17 billion) in 2012, data from CBK shows.
Diaspora remittances for the first six months of this year were recorded at Sh52.9 billion ($623 million), up 8.5 per cent compared to a similar period a year earlier.
Despite this growth in volume inflows, the cost of sending money to Africa from key sources such as Europe, Middle East and North America remain as high, at an average of 17 per cent of the amount being remitted.