Digital Banking App Waya Goes Official, Targets Africa Immigrant Workers

Waya Co-founders David, Hempstone and Aenoi

There aren’t many full-service digital banks around, especially those that include additional services such as money transfers for Africans living abroad.

However, this appears to be the mission of the latest startup named Waya, which wants to take advantage of that market while unlocking financial barriers and offering unlimited financial access and opportunities for millions of Africans in the diaspora.

According to Dr. David Wachira, an ex-World Bank Finance Specialist, and now Co-founder and COO of Waya, there is a big opportunity for offering banking and remittance services to the millions of immigrants that contribute over $1.3trillion to the USA economy annually.

“The African Diaspora send over $50 billion dollars back home every year and lose up to $3B in hidden fees and high FX rates when sending money back home. We not only want to help them move money back home in a faster, cheaper, and affordable way but want to enable them to also store, spend and transact the over 80% of their income that remains in the countries where they live and work,” says the COO.

When the platform goes live in mid-September, customers will be able to open digital bank accounts via the Waya app. Their accounts will allow them to send money to other Waya users for free. They will also use their Waya Cards linked to their accounts to remit funds to over 10 countries in Africa. The remittances will be delivered to mobile money wallets, as well as bank accounts across the continent.

Furthermore, Waya customers will be able to make domestic bank transfers states-side. There is also a utility bill management feature too that will allow them to settle various payments.

Additional features include credit access, savings, investment for immigrant workers, and much more.

“Mobile Money is one of the biggest African success stories. Waya wants to bring the convenience of transacting on mobile money to banking in the USA enabling users to transact with each other while enabling the diaspora to send money to Africa in a fast convenient and affordable way” noted Mr. Hempstone Maroria, the Co-founder & CEO who further added that 1 in 9 people globally is supported by remittances.

“For many African Immigrants living and working in the USA and other parts of the world, opening a bank account is often marred with a myriad of roadblocks and constraints, while sending money remains the most expensive and inefficient financial process for any immigrant. We don’t think this is fair,” noted Mr. Fred Ndavi, The Chief Impact & Strategy Officer.

The Waya app will go live in Google Play and App Store on September 16, but for early adopters. Commercial availability will start from October 1.