VugaPay is a cross-platform payment service owned by Vuga Ltd, a Rwandan company. It is the brain child of two Rwandan brothers: Patrick Muhire and Cedrickk Muhoza, the duo after watching M-pesa evolve from a small transfer platform into a full-blown payment solution, they decided to do something similar throughout Africa.
Basically, the firm allows businesses and users to transfer money across major payment systems, including credit card networks, mobile money and Bitcoin via an API, USSD interface, a mobile phone app or web interface.
It processed over 5 million transactions in 2016. In fact, from as far back as December 2016, VugaPay has offered instant payments to and from 40 different mobile money networks/carriers in Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Niger, Malawi, Congo DR, Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia.
The firm follows a similar business model to PayPal. vugaPay describes itself as a “digital wallet”. Users sign up and create an account by providing basic information and bank account information using their mobile app, USSD for feature phones or on the VugaPay website and they can find others who have created an account.
Friends and recipients of transactions can be found via phone number, VugaPay username or email.
Also, users have a VugaPay balance that is used for their transactions. They can link their mobile money, bitcoin, PayPal bank accounts, debit cards or credit cards to their VugaPay account. Paying with mobile money is free, but credit cards, bitcoin, PayPal and bank accounts have a 3% fee for each transaction.
If a user does not have enough funds on VugaPay itself when making a transaction, it will automatically withdraw the supplemental funds from the registered mobile money, bank account or card.
The firm continues to ease the process of sending money from one mobile network operator to another at affordable rates.