62 percent of the world’s adult population have an account with a bank, financial institution, or mobile money provider. But according to the Global Findex Database of 2014, 2 billion adults in the world today are still unbanked.
“While the amount of unbanked adults dropped by 20 percent between 2011 and 2014, there is still a lot of work that can be done around the area of financial inclusion,” explains Jorge Ibarraran, Post Office Business Development Lead at Ria Money Transfer.
“Significant inroads have been made, especially in Africa, where mobile remittances have become a popular option for beneficiaries in certain countries, but the reality is that cash is still the primary choice for the majority of our customers. This is a key reason why we have been working hard to strengthen our post office partnerships, as they still have one of the best retail networks in the world,” affirms Ibarraran.
Today, Ria has around 20 post office partnerships, although this number is still low due to exclusivity contracts that can limit competition in the marketplace.
More recently, the company has expanded its network in Africa, adding La Poste du Benin in West Africa and Societe Nationale De Postes in Burkina Faso. La Poste de Côte D’Ivoire is set to be the next Post Office to partner with Ria, adding around 126 locations to the network.
Ria currently serves around 20,000 locations in Africa. And for the continent which has some of the highest remittance costs in the market, there is still a lot that can be done to improve services.
“While there is a lot of buzz around FinTech and what the future for the unbanked may look like, we will continue to provide what our customers need. And for many of them, that is access to cash. We can offer very strong partnerships for posts looking to expand their offering in the remittances market,” adds Ibarraran.
Post office growth in Africa
Ria currently has eight post office partnerships in Africa which collectively account for over 3,000 locations.
“Post Offices are now choosing Ria to broaden their scope and reach clients that want an affordable, high-quality service,” says Ria Africa’s Managing Director, El Hadji Malick Seck.
“These partnerships are important as they help us to deliver services to areas where banks do not often have branches. They are also often easier to locate and tend to be a preferred collection point for some beneficiaries,” continues Seck.
“In addition to the wide coverage of their respective territories, post offices in Africa are also known for being well-organized and experienced in terms of offering remittance services. Their well spread locations provide an added benefit and enable us to serve populations in hard-to-reach areas.
“In the case of Burkina Faso, the post office received requests for the Ria service from both senders and beneficiaries. We’re pleased to say that the new partnership is going well,” concludes Seck.
Source: RIA Financial Blog