Remittances from overseas are a lifeline for many South Africans, says Richard Ambrose, CEO of Azimo.
Azimo is a digital money transfer service, headquartered in London.
Ambrose says new digital money transfer services are shaking up this market. "Our customers send money back to South Africa primarily to support their families - especially aging parents - but also to build houses and start businesses," he tells Fin24.
$900m (R13.5B) is sent to South Africa each year in the form of remittances and $40bn to sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. Of this, $250m is sent from the UK, $120m from the US, $60m from New Zealand and $50m from Canada.
South Africans sending money home with Azimo send an average of R6 500 each time.
About 80% of transfers to South Africa via Azimo are sent to a bank account, while 20% are collected in cash. About 50% of transfers to South Africa via Azimo are for family support, while 20% are for gifts.
South Africans sending money home with Azimo tend to do so every month, but there is a surge in the number of transfers just before Christmas.
Azimo has received more than $50m of investment since its launch in 2012. It now has more than a million registered senders, while 2.5 million people have received money via Azimo.