We have designed mobile-centric processes,
where you can sign up and get treated
like a customer and it works on a simple
feature phone using USSD strings, if that’s
the sort of device you have. You can send
money by creating a transaction, paying for
it or settling it at any one of our partners
or our own branches, and the money is
instantaneously available on the other side.
Your recipient receives a text message, they
have to show ID to prove who they are and
they get the money. A process that used to
take weeks, where you could lose anywhere
between 25% to 40% of your principal in
fees, unforeseen charges, bus rides into town
etc, is now instantaneous, thankfully through
the use of mobile technology and the money
gets to the other side immediately.
At the heart of it, our DNA is solving
problems for the African migrant diaspora,
and this is palpable when walking through
our contact-centre, through which we are
able to communicate with all customers in
their vernacular: it sometimes sounds like the
united nations of Africa.
How many countries are you
We service over 100 send-receive country
corridors and those are where we have
our own presence or direct relationships
with partners. We send from five countries
across Southern Africa and then the whole
of Europe and we have our own operating
presence to pay-out orders in 13 countries,
but then we also bind into aggregators that
enable you to send to/receive from 180 plus
countries in the world.
How do you ensure the cybersecurity
of the transactions that you process?
They’re all encrypted. The online payments
are managed through 3D secure or similar
platforms. We have to adhere to the FICA
requirements that are stipulated to us by
the South African Reserve Bank and other
central banks in the territories in which we
operate because we are an authorised dealer
with limited authority. This means we need
to uphold the KYC standards in our sign-up
processes which are high in Southern Africa.
We’ve got to adhere to all the legislation and
regulation around anti-money laundering,
anti-terrorist financing, exchange control
regulations and international watch-list
screening, among others.
We trace patterns through technological
flows. We trace patterns in terms of
customer sets. And so, the transaction is
looked at from the perspective of what
it is and isn’t doing and then the actual
technological capabilities follow fairly
generic and standard security protocols.
What technologies are you looking
to invest in?
Ensuring that the core stability and
functional capability brought about by
the technologies and coding languages
mentioned earlier is of paramount
importance. We are relaunching our app and
that’s been built on the Flutter framework.
The app is important because it allows for
content rich customer engagements.
It will also enable us to ingest/scan customer
documents in real-time, process card
payments securely so that customers can
create and pay for orders in one step as
opposed to two, as well as allowing for a host
of additional customer facing services and
capabilities to be deployed.
The core DNA of our business is making sure
that it’s super simple and that somebody
with a feature phone is not precluded from
using the service, because that is the essence
of where our customer base is at, so we want
modular technological capabilities that we
can use in any conditions.
Biometrics is another sort of key
differentiator in the space for increased
security and ease of sign-up. Africa is ready
for digitisation, and we have already seen
good traction in SA with our Mukuru Card
product. Mukuru is investing in technology
to support customers as they digitise in the
coming years, across our footprint.
What have been the major IT
achievements of your organisation in
the past 12 months?
I think there are three things. One being able
to take the idea of enabling the groceries
opportunity, and to get that from an idea
to a functioning product within 90 days, it’s
been nothing short of remarkable, just given
how many things we have on the go - that’s
been a key thing.
Increasing the use of WhatsApp as a
transacting channel, which went from an
absolute standing start in early 2019 to
accounting for well over a quarter of all the
‘order create’ transactions we have.
And I think it has been a mammoth
undertaking and a re-examining of how we
do things to re-architect our app and make
sure that we continue to move along with
our customers and grow with them.
Those have been three key undertakings
while ensuring that our core keeping-thelights-on
technology stack is able to sustain
ever increasing volumes.
52 INTELLIGENTCIO www.intelligentcio.com