Remittance App, BitSika Allows You Send Money Across Africa With Reduced Charges, But Has Stringent Processes


Bitsika is a fintech app that was created to help people move money across borders using digital currencies at low cost. Last week, the team signed a partnership deal with David “Davido” Adeleke, with the goal of increasing the number of people transacting with the Bitsika app.

Davido with the BitSika team

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More people are performing monetary transactions online and finding more need to move money across borders. Reports show, however, that Africa has the highest cost of remittance in the world with the cost going as high as $9 for a $200 transaction.

Having an option that makes it easy and affordable to move money across Africa is a pressing need especially because remittances were higher than foreign direct investment last year as incoming capital, although the World Bank predicts a drop in 2020 due to the COVID-19.

BitSika’s approach to cross-border remittance has been to make money transfer easy as well as less costly. For this review, I examined the app based on the extent of its functionality, ease of use, and the charges that apply.

I used the version 2.1.11 of the app.

Before exploring the functionalities…

I found the sign-up process to be easy because all that was required was a Gmail account, a username and a 4-digit pin.

Afterwards, a verification process is initiated where you will be asked for details including your BVN, identification documents and picture of yourself holding the document.

You can transfer money to your Bitsika wallet even without doing the verification, however, that could be bad for you if the verification process takes longer than is expected. It is advisable to complete the verification process before moving money into the wallet because you can not touch the money until you are verified.

The document upload process requires you to take a picture of the document in real-time as well as take a clear picture of you holding the document. This could be an issue if you can not access the hardcopy of the document and only have a scan at the moment of registration.

This measure is more than what other fintech apps demand in their verification process, however, with the need to prevent fraudsters from using the platform, such measures are understandable.

In all, it is easy to use for a first-timer but the verification processes could be tacky if you are only used to what other fintechs require and how they require it to be uploaded.

Functionalities: What you can do with BitSika

Once you have the app installed and your account is verified, you can start ‘sending and spending money’, as the app’s tagline says. Of course, you have to fund your wallet before making any transaction and BitSika now only allows you to fund your wallet through bank transfers.

You can send money to other BitSika accounts by using the unique username of the account holder.

You can do other things like buy airtime or pay for goods and services online using the virtual card which can be requested on the app although it is not yet available in Nigeria.

BitSika supports 4 different African currencies and the US dollar. This means that you can send money from your wallet to any persons in the countries using any of the currencies as long as they have a BitSika account.

Pricing: charges that apply

There is a threshold attached to transactions carried out using the app. As long as you do not cross the threshold, no charges will be applied to your transactions but the charges apply when you cross the limit.

For Naira deposits and payouts, there is no fee until you cross the $300 line, and afterwards, there is a commensurate fee on whatever transaction you initiate. The $300 limit is reset at the start of every month.

The full list of the pricing for the different countries is here.

In summary

BitSika provides a way to send fiat money as well as cryptocurrency within and outside Nigeria and reduces the cost of transfers on people. It is not an app to be used for little expenses like buying airtime, however, because you save more if you do that from your bank app.

However, if you do transfer to your BitSika wallet via bank transfer or from a crypto wallet or even receive money from other BitSika accounts, the app gives you a wider coverage to remit money and it gives you reduced charges than you will get from most financial operators.

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