Mariel Norton, Content Manager   25 January 2018

withdrawing money from a mobile money account in Uganda

Sending money online means your loved one can pick it up anywhere in the world.  Picture: Fiona Graham / WorldRemit

For the tech-savvy among us, using our phone for everything from booking holidays to making video calls comes naturally. But if you’re not familiar with using a smartphone, the thought of sending money online could be daunting. And there’s a lot of jargon, too. 

Luckily, we’re experts in sending money  – so here are the top seven things you need to know. 

1. Mobile money: It’s exactly as it sounds: a service that allows people to send and receive money using their mobile phone. Whether you have the latest smartphone or even just a basic handset, mobile money is as easy as sending an SMS. From M-PESA in Kenya to MTN in Ghana to Tigo Money in El Salvador, mobile money is available in many countries worldwide.

2. Recipient: While the person who sends the money is known as the sender, you might think that the person you send it to would be the “receiver” – but in fact they’re usually known as the “recipient”. If you’re sending, you’ll be asked to enter the recipient’s mobile money number.

Money transfer via smartphone

You don't have to go to a bank to send money - you can use your smartphone. Picture credit: Fiona Graham / WorldRemit

3. Cash pickup: This means simply that the person you’re sending money to – your recipient – will pick up the cash from a designated agent. The sender chooses which cash pickup service to use and the amount they want to send – it’s a fast and safe way to send and receive money. Pick a provider with plenty of branches and the person you’re sending money to will have lots of choice about where they can collect the cash. 

4. Bank transfer/deposit: You can also send money directly to your recipient’s bank account. All you need to do is choose the amount you want to send and ask the recipient for their bank account details. Depending on where they are, the money should be in their account the moment you hit the send button.

Jackline on her phone

Jackline's family sends money via WorldRemit direct to her MPesa mobile money wallet. Picture credit: WorldRemit

5. Mobile wallet: A mobile wallet is a secure app on your phone that stores credit and debit cards, gift cards and other payment options such as loyalty cards. This means you can make payments with your phone, via apps such as Android Pay, Samsung Pay, AliPay or Apple Pay, and some apps allow you to send money to someone else too – so long as they have the same app on their phone. 

6. ABA Routing Number, IBAN, BIC, SWIFT code: If you’re sending money internationally, you might need these codes, which identify your recipient’s bank and account number. Ask the person you’re sending money to for these details in advance if you think you might need them. You can find out more information about this here

7. Airtime topup, mobile recharge, mobile reload: You can add mobile credit to someone else’s phone, either as talk time or as data. All you need to send mobile credit is your recipient’s mobile number – the credit should appear instantly on their phone.