BitPesa Review: Send Money Instantly to Africa Using Bitcoin

BitPesa is a fintech based in Nairobi that uses blockchain technology to allow people in Africa to send or receive money from around the world at at a smaller fee compared to traditional money transfer services. BitPesa users send cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to BitPesa, which converts the crypto into a local currency. The fintech uses cryptocurrency for money transfers to cut down on high transaction fees of traditional financial institutions.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has suspended international money transfers to mobile wallets in Nigeria. This is because of a new regulation that only allows US dollar payout for remittances in the country. The suspension will improve visibility of US dollar remittance flows.

In 2016, BitPesa acquired TransferZero, a Spanish online money transfer platform that specializes in sending money to consumers and companies in over 200 countries.

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Bitpesa has a deal with a Japanese company SBI Remit allowing people across Africa to make payments for cars, beauty products and electronic gadgets. Africans making overseas purchases deposit their local fiat currencies into Bitpesa’s bank account, after which the payments are sent on the Bitcoin blockchain to SBI Remit, which in turn makes the final payments in Japan. The entire process can be completed within a matter of hours, at about half of the usual transfer cost.

How BitPesa Works

Registering for BitPesa services is free. To register you need government-issued IDs that contain full name, date of birth and photo. If you are an individual, you must be at least 18 years old or older. It takes up to 2 business days for your account to be validated.

For a business account, you need to submit the following documents: Certificate of Incorporation or Certificate of Business Registration, Memorandum and Articles of Association or company constitution, valid ID of Director(s) and Authorized signatory/person(s) to operate the account, ID of Ultimate Beneficial Owners of your business (individuals with direct or indirect ownership of 10% or more in the company) and extract of commercial register or business formation showing the ownership structure of the company.

After you have established a BitPesa Account, you may initiate a transaction to buy cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin then make a transfer for your recipient to receive in their local currency.

How Will My Recipient Receive BitPesa Money Transfer? How Long Will It Take?

Your recipient has two options for receiving money sent via BitPesa, a bank account and mobile wallet such as M-Pesa. BitPesa offers same-day delivery for mobile wallet money transfers. Bank transfers vary depending on the country.

Generally, Bitcoin transactions are dependent on blockchain confirmations which may take up to two hours. The speed of confirmations on the blockchain determines delivery to your beneficiary. In rare cases, confirmations may take longer than two hours.

What Are BitPesa Transaction Limits, Fees and Exchange Rates?

Transfer limits are based on the mobile money or card limits in the recipient’s country. BitPesa charges 3% remittance fee regardless of the amount being transferred. BitPesa exchange rates take into account country-specific market factors such as demand and supply. Users can contact BitPesa directly for specific rates. Luckily, you will be able to see the exchange rate when making your transaction by clicking on “New Transaction” and input the amount you have. You will see the current exchange rate.

Which Countries Can I Send Money With BitPesa?

BitPesa users can send money to Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Senegal. You cannot send money using BitPesa to the above supported countries if you are a resident of the following countries: Afghanistan, Burma/Myanmar, Crimea Region, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Palestinian Territories and the Gaza Strip, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Is BitPesa Safe?

It is safe to use BitPesa to make money transfer transactions. The fintech is licensed as an authorised payment institution by UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of Spain.

Conclusion

BitPesa is one of the growing list of fintech startups in Africa in order to eliminate transfer delays, reduce exorbitant transfer fees, and excessive bureaucracy in the financial sector.

More Information

Countries you can use this service with:



Types of money transfer available