Money2020: Alice Newton-Rex, WorldRemit's VP of Product

Most notably, Alice is known as the eight-year-old girl who convinced her father to publish the first Harry Potter manuscript, reading Rowling’s works prior to publishing to test their market appeal.

However, these days Alice Newton-Rex is WorldRemit’s VP of Product where she oversees product development. Having witnessed how mobile is transforming financial services and changing the way people bank in the developing work, she has spearheaded WorldRemit's transition from a desktop service to one that is mobile first. Alice focuses on developing and enhancing the users’ experience whilst working towards making transfers as frictionless as possible.

According to Alice, mobile is the biggest channel customers use with 60% of all of WorldRemit’s transactions being made via mobile. When including mobile web usage, the number increases to 77%, which “proves that we are a mobile company and this is a very important platform us”. As stated by the World Bank data in 2016, 74% of global mobile remittances transferred to mobile wallet came through WorldRemit. Therefore, they want to ensure that their consumers have the best experience as possible. This led to her travelling to Ghana earlier this year to speak with remittance receivers and see how it fits into their lives to ensure the software is developed to benefit the end user.

Integration for user ease

Looking at the sender, WordRemit is working towards making the process of sending money as easy as possible. For example, removing the manual process of adding in the users' card details every time a transaction takes place. This move is supported by their recent announcement that the WorldRemit App will integrate with Android Pay. Speaking about their partnerships Alice says that “WorldRemit’s overall strategy is to take the best of tech out of Silicon Valley and merge it with the best of tech in emerging markets. The goal is to provide a frictionless and easy user experience.”

Encouraging financial flow in emerging markets

With over 250 million migrants around the world, bringing foreign currency into the developed world in the form of mobile money or remittance is key to drive economies forward and increase financial flow. In particular, when someone receives remittance as mobile money, it encourages secure transactions and financial inclusion.

However, the payments and remittance market in Africa according to Alice has been “underserved for a very long time”, therefore having more players in the industry is better for consumers from a convenience and affordability perspective.

Especially, as “90% of payments are [currently] happening offline. So the market is at a tipping point where we expect more remittance in the next 4-5 years to move online. And we would like to encourage the move toward digital as it’s near enough perfect for auditing trial and transparency. "Moving forward, WorldRemit will be focused on “in app integration” as they develop APIs with their partners to provide better services to consumers.”

App Integration

Talking about their recent initiative, Alice tells us about how they keep their customers’ informed about currency fluctuation through their daily push notification. She adds, “we have 100,000 people that have subscribed to our daily notification and that gives us a chance to interact with our customers on daily basis. [The number of subscribers] shows how important it is to send money.”

From the trust perspective, which is a huge issue in Africa, WorldRemit relies on the referral networks. This is mainly because most consumers are likely to trust “an aunt or a friend that recommends a service” so WorldRemit is working on a referral scheme that will be launching in August this year.

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