Regulator approves LemFi for remittance services in Kenya

LemFi founders

The news: 

  • RightCard Payment Services Limited (trading as LemFi), a cross-border payment solution that allows people in the diaspora to send and receive funds back home, has announced securing the approval of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to operate remittances in Kenya.
  • Per a statement, the development marks a major milestone in LemFi’s mission to ensure seamless international payments to over 500,000 Kenyans in the diaspora. 
  • LemFi, which entered the Kenyan market in June 2023, will collaborate with the fintech firm Wapi Pay to launch remittance services in Kenya. 

With the new licence, the company can focus its resources and efforts on providing secure and efficient services while adhering to CBK”s regulatory framework.

LemFi, formerly Lemonade Finance, provides a mobile app that enables Kenyans in the Diaspora to send money home. Kenyans in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, for example, can send funds to the East African country in minutes via financial institutions such as M-PESA, mobile money wallets, and bank accounts, with no fees. 

The LemFi app also provides a Kenya Shillings wallet setup, allowing users to fund their accounts with mobile money and open accounts. Afterwards, based on their transactions, users can easily exchange their Kenya Shillings for other foreign currencies, such as US dollars (USD), British pounds (GBP), and Canadian dollars (CAD).

When LemFi first entered the Kenyan market in 2023, Kakea Mbacha, the company’s Country Manager, assured Kenyans that there would be no fees for fintech services. She emphasised that the company’s ultimate goal is to help citizens overseas send money home instantly.

“When Africans leave their countries to work, study or live abroad, they still maintain family, business and friendship connections back home. These connections are often maintained through communication and the need for effective ways to send and receive items and money from home. It is for this reason that LemFi exists.” she added.

LemFi is licenced by the Central Bank of Nigeria as an International Money Transfer Operator in the country, which enables it to directly partner with banks to deliver its services and conduct inbound money transfers to Nigeria in line with regulations.

LemFi resumed operations in Ghana in February 2024, two months after temporary suspension following the Bank of Ghana declaring it illegal.In March 2024, LemFi signed a new deal with Visa’s Cross-Border Solutions division to expand its operations into new global markets like China, India, and Pakistan. In the same month, the startup hired Allen Qu, the former Chief Operating Officer at Opay, to lead its expansion efforts in China.