FICA finally made simple: take a photo and a selfie

Thursday, 25 October 2017: The South African-based fintech startup that offers the cheapest cross-border money transfer rates into key African countries and now into India, has introduced the easiest online registration process using its app – taking a photo and a selfie. This is a first in South Africa and is approved by the Financial Intelligence Centre and the South African Reserve Bank.

Mama Money co-founder, Raphael Grojnowski, explains: “To register, you simply download the Mama Money Family App from the Google Play store, enter your contact details, take a photo of your passport or ID and a selfie holding the document. This is all that’s needed to register to begin sending money home. The whole process takes less than three minutes.”

“Financial services in South Africa are very difficult to access for migrants who are earning money from informal jobs. We help them to send money back to their families easily and affordably. Our new registration process eliminates requesting documentation that they don’t have. It offers the option to self-register via the app. This is in addition to the current options to register in person at a PEP store, or with a Mama Money agent.”   

Grojnowski says that this new addition is also more convenient for higher income foreign nationals living in SA and employers of foreigners who can now register their employees online

Since Mama Money was launched in March 2015 to allow cross-border payments from South Africa to Zimbabwe, it has expanded to include Nigeria, Malawi, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda and India. Mama Money’s low rate of 5% with no margin charged on the exchange rate has remained the same since inception. It is far below the costs of other African and international money transfer companies.


Business triples in size in 2017

Says Grojnowski: “We have seen tremendous growth in all the corridors. Our business has tripled in size since March this year and we now have 100 000 customers. This growth can be attributed to our agent network and educating migrants about safely sending money they earn in SA back home. We currently employ 783 agents and expect to have 1000 agents by the end of the year.”

Mama Money is the world’s first social business for money transfer. “We want to help families send and receive money anytime, at a fair price, by mobilising advanced cost-saving technology.” Grojnowski added.

Mama Money is a gold member of AlphaCode, a Rand Merchant Investments (RMI) club for fintech startup entrepreneurs. RMI’s senior investment executive and head of AlphaCode, Dominique Collett, says: “Mama Money is solving a significant problem in a large market. According to research done by the World Bank, the remittance corridors between South Africa and the rest of SADC are some of the most expensive in the world. World Bank data illustrates that the global average for sending remittances was estimated at 7% with South Africa being more than double than at 16%. Mama Money’s rapid growth highlights how important their product is to these migrant communities and demonstrates how fintech can be leveraged for social inclusion.”


  • Download the Mama Money Family App from the Google Play store.