First Bank, WorldRemit Team Up To Push Mobile Payments to Nigeria

June 8, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Remittances are a major economical move, and an occasional political hot button as well. Remittances are payments of cash that go from workers in one country to relatives in another, and often represent a substantial portion of some countries’ entire economy. A new move from First Bank and WorldRemit, meanwhile, means to put some extra life into remittance going to Nigeria.

With the new partnership in place, users in over 50 different countries will be able to send money directly from their phones to 14 million First Bank accounts. That gives WorldRemit a major new footprint in Nigeria, and some substantial revenue from the payment processing involved. Since WorldRemit has also had a larger plan to offer its services to 10 million customers in emerging markets by 2020, this is also a plan that furthers its larger corporate goals as well.

Meanwhile, First Bank gets access to a new service that its customers should be very happy with, and one that will be available in a convenient, user-friendly fashion that delivers value on several fronts. Since it already boasted several retail services, this expanded remittance strategy just adds to the overall effect.

WorldRemit’s regional head of Middle East and Africa, Andrew Stewart, noted “…Nigeria remains our largest and fastest growing market in Africa, and WorldRemit’s second biggest market globally. This is a key partnership in the country that will further support Nigeria’s transition from offline remittances to online, safer, faster and lower-cost money transfer methods.”

The great thing about emerging markets is that first-mover advantage is much more likely to take place. While it may not be exactly first-mover—maybe more like second or even 10th—the move is so close to the beginning that it becomes more likely to establish market share early on. Other firms attempt to get in and have to content themselves with what’s left, or try to engage in costly action to pull market share from others.

WorldRemit’s move with First Bank helps ensure that it will have a market in the region for some time to come. While it may take time for that market to be truly valuable, it’s got its foot in the door early, and other firms may have a much tougher time putting that foot in place later.