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TerraPay: How Digital Mobility Aided by Fintechs Can Foster Financial Inclusion and Empowerment

There is no doubt that Fintech companies have accelerated the pace of digital mobility adoption, thereby paving the way for financial inclusion and independence, globally.

Whether it be digital wallets or lowering the price of remittance, Ambar Sur, Founder and CEO at TerraPay explains how digital mobility aid by fintechs can foster financial inclusion and empowerment. With over two decades of rich experience in telecom and mobile payments, Sur possesses a sound understanding of the industry, voluminous knowledge of technology, and a keen eye for market and business drivers, — a combination that has helped him lead the organisation to capitalise on the emerging African markets, create a strong foundation in some major European countries, and enter into the Asian market.

Before founding TerraPay, Sur worked at Comviva Technologies Ltd. for over 13 years. He had joined Comviva as Chief Marketing Officer in 2002. When he parted ways from the organisation, he had been serving as a Wholetime Director and Sr. Vice President for about six years.

Ambar Sur, Founder and CEO at TerraPay
Ambar Sur, Founder and CEO at TerraPay

There is no doubt that Fintech companies have accelerated the pace of digital mobility adoption, thereby paving the way for financial inclusion and independence, globally. Come to think of it, there are several countries around the world where individuals and small businesses or merchants do not have adequate or affordable access to traditional cross border payment channels such as bank accounts and cash. For example, there are so many immigrant workers in regions such as London, Canada, New York, Dubai, Hong Kong, to name a few, who find the entire ordeal of transferring money back to their homes through traditional channels rather complex, cumbersome and expensive.

TerraPay’s innovation is largely targeted at these 250 million migrants globally, for whom the assurance of a fast, convenient and safe access to send their money home to their families, is crucial. TerraPay strives to bridge this gap by harnessing the power of digital mobility, to not only foster financial inclusion, but also ensure financial empowerment, resilience and independence for all, and most importantly for emerging markets, globally. TerraPay has been an advocate of financial inclusion and being an IFC investee company, the company’s vision is aligned to achieving the SDG 2030 goal of reducing remittance costs globally.

The platform provides a confluence of technological know-how and the regulatory infrastructure to enable an industry-driven model for global interoperability. These innovative interoperable payment solutions are designed as a means of providing access and adoption to all participants in the digital payments ecosystem.

TerraPay’s technology is built to allow real-time transfer of low-value remittances. Its scalable system facilitates the financial instrument to handle large volume – low-value transactions, unlike usual financial systems that handle low volume – high-value transactions. Over 97% of our transactions are delivered to the end-user in less than a minute. TerraPay is currently the largest processor of international remittances into mobile wallets in Ghana, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Delivering seamless customer journeys with international remittances at the core, and embarking on a unified payments offering in the B2B space, TerraPay is constantly innovating for future-ready digital solutions, integrating with banks, mobile wallet operators, and merchants.

The company is currently building a digital payments highway and has been able to already make cross border remittances to mobile wallets more accessible, affordable, secure and instant.

The payments infrastructure company has also built corridors that were earlier non-existent or were dominated by informal channels. Such examples include, UAE to Uganda and South Korea to Africa, TerraPay is also a part of to IFC’s growing FinTech portfolio in emerging markets including mobile money operator BKash in Bangladesh, merchant acquirer Fawry in Egypt, payment processor Interswitch in Nigeria, online lender Branch in Africa and other cross-border remittance players.

Leveraging its robust proprietary foundation and groundbreaking innovative technology, the company connects diverse cross-border payment systems seamlessly and in real time. The digital interoperability engine enables customers and businesses globally, to send and receive payments on a scalable, secure, transparent, and efficient platform. This agile interoperability is pivotal to a digitally connected payments ecosystem as it is the only way to connect more and more communities with these services and solutions. The platform supports diverse payment instruments and types of payments while observing complex regulations and compliance standards in different markets.

The brand has a well-entrenched partner network of more than 500 million mobile wallet accounts and over 4 billion bank accounts and it provides access to its payout network which includes banks, MTOs and financial institutions et all, via a single API integration, thereby enabling customers to send real time, low cost remittances to their loved ones.  TerraPay’s mission is to create a plug and play system and be a one stop shop for digital payments across borders. Its vision is aligned towards achieving the SDG 2030 goal of fostering economic growth and equality, by reducing remittance costs and promoting universal digital acceptance.

Integrating a seamless payment network with the mobile wallets can yield twin advantages of pervasiveness, cost-efficiency and amplify the flow of digital payments via regulated channels. Through TerraPay’s payments infrastructure, network partners can process international remittance payments to mobile wallets in real-time, the company’s leverage its regulatory covers, clearing and settlement framework, making it one unified platform for all cross border payment requirements.

Speaking from a larger perspective, the banking payment rail and the card payment rail were already present when TerraPay became operational; the need was to build a mobile payment rail, which carries small value instant payments. This is what TerraPay delivers today through a well-entrenched network partner channel present all over the world. The idea was to democratize the movement of money for the vast majority of the world’s population who are unbanked, or who just need to transfer as little as a $100, across the border to a loved one.

Terrapay strongly believes that this very financial inclusion can support overall economic growth and achieve broader sustainable development goals. It can also create more stable financial systems and economies, mobilize domestic resources through national savings and help boost government revenue.



  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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