Chipper Cash, an African cross-border payments company, has been valued at US$2bn in its recent $150mn Series C funding round. Chipper Cash has various products, but its primary offering is low-cost cross-border payments. Chipper Cash's markets are among the world's costliest for receiving remittances; the firm is filling the gap left by traditional players. In this note we discuss Chipper Cash's business model and also highlight other countries with high volumes of costly remittances – these markets could also see fintech disruptors emerge.
Chipper Cash profile
Chipper Cash, founded in 2018, is a US-based and Africa-focused payments company with its major product being cross-border payments. It is one of the few fintech unicorns in Africa. Chipper Cash currently operates in seven African countries (Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ghana) and has also recently expanded to the US and UK to facilitate remittances from those markets. Within just three years of its launch, Chipper Cash has been able to attract 4mn users to its platform, conducting an average 80k transactions per day. Chipper Cash's success is primarily attributed to its aggressive pricing strategy, a key differentiator given that Sub-Saharan Africa endures some of the costliest remittances in the world.
In its low-cost cross-border payments product, Chipper Cash lets customers link their mobile money (regardless of provider) or bank accounts to Chipper and make P2P transfers via its smartphone application.
Chipper Cash has received strong interest from investors and has raised a total of US$305mn in funding since its launch three years ago. It is now valued at US$2bn following last week's Series C (extension) funding round. Chipper Cash has various strong investors including Jeff Bezos' personal VC fund Bezos Expedition, along with SVB Capital, Ribbit Capital.
In addition to cross-border remittances, Chipper Cash offers a selection of other products, as highlighted below:
Chipper Cash product suite
Source: Company website
Cross-border payments: This is Chipper Cash's flagship product, allowing users to move money easily between the countries of operation. The company offers very competitive rates compared to its peers.
Chipper Card is a digital card issued in partnership with Visa that allows users to shop globally. Chipper Cash offers 5% cash back (for a limited time) on purchases made through this card.
Network API: This allows businesses to accept online payments on their websites. Chipper Cash's advantage in this area comes from its presence in multiple countries allowing business to accept cross-border payments.
Chipper Checkout allows businesses to accept payments through social media and messaging apps. Consumers are provided with a link, which directs them to Chipper Cash's checkout page to complete the payment.
Other payments products include bill payments and airtime.
Crypto investments enables users to convert local currency to Bitcoin on Chipper Cash's app and also enables them to trade crypto currencies.
Stock investments allows users to invest in US-listed stocks. They can purchase fractions of stocks from as little as US$1.
The cost of remittances is highest in Chipper Cash's markets
Chipper Cash's countries of activity have some of the costliest remittances in emerging markets; all of its markets have an average cost of remittances north of 7%. Other markets characterised by expensive remittances include Lebanon, Tunisia, China, Hungary, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.
Other promising markets for remittance-focused fintechs
Below we compare cost of remittances with remittance volume to scan markets that provide opportunity for fintechs to disrupt the remittances industry with aggressive pricing strategy. We highlight China, Vietnam, Nigeria, Egypt, Philippines, Mexico, and India as attractive markets for fintechs.
Fintechs have an edge in remittances
Fintechs have several benefits over banks and traditional money transfer operators when it comes to remittances.
Low cost. Mobile money remittances cost c50% less than traditional channels. Unit costs are declining every year.
High convenience. Fintechs carry several benefits: i) flexibility of timing to make the transaction; ii) no need to visit physical branches; and iii) increased safety as the transaction can be made directly from the home or workplace.
Increasing reach to rural populations. The presence of agents in rural and remote areas give an edge to fintechs, particularly those in the mobile money segment. It is often uneconomic for the other formal companies in the sector, such as banks and money transfer operators (MTOs), to have a good footprint in such locations.