Ugandan Migrant Workers Protected From Fraud & Financial Misappropriation With Pivot Pay

Pivot Payments is enabling unbanked migrant workers to avoid fraud and misappropriation of funds when they send remittances, save and transact.

By Staff

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Pivot Payments is building a neo-bank envisaged to address the needs of the export market in the diaspora. Uganda has a large exported labour population that is neither fully banked in the countries where they work nor here locally in Uganda. 

These labourers have a hard time accessing a direct service that allows them to send money home and even when they access these services, the cost is very high. Another common challenge is misappropriation and loss of money. 

Pivot Pay came in as a payment services provider but is diversifying its services and transitioning into a neo-bank to meet the needs of its customers and enable them to save, send or spend money. 

The startup was founded by Princess Shamirah Kimbugwe in 2020 and according to Kimbugwe, Pivot Pay was forged in fire.


“Our uniqueness is we were born in the COVID pandemic. We were in very hard circumstances and had to completely digitize because we couldn’t move due to lockdown restrictions.”

Kimbugwe says the COVID conditions shaped the resilience that has enabled the company to grow and continue to expand its operations. 

“Being born in COVID means you have to fight twice or thrice as hard to get customers. For us, this paved a way for us to address the digital needs of the particular customers.”

The company is quickly building a customer base with a little under 200,000 users registered in Uganda and has enabled the transfer of nearly $14 million since its inception. 

By the end of 2023, Pivot Pay intends to have broken into at least 10 markets across the continent with primary expansion targets including Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana. 

Pivot Pay is characterized by a wallet that enables saving, domestic utility and merchant payments allowing diaspora workers to meet financial obligations like paying for water and electricity back home from wherever they are around the world. 

The platform allows users to send remittances to other Pivot wallet holders as well as to mobile money or to bank accounts. 

As a women-led and founded company, financial inclusion is important to Pivot Pay. The company has a largely female customer base consisting of labourers exported to do domestic work primarily in the Middle East. 

“If I am able to equip customers in the diaspora with a way to send money home to provide for their families and contribute to the economy as they start to invest, this is a validation of female inclusion and most importantly financial inclusion,” Kimbugwe said. 

Kimbugwe is optimistic that the financial technologies space in Uganda is still growing despite what she refers to as a “punitive environment with gaps” characterized by the current regulatory limitations.

Kimbugwe said, “Uganda has attracted almost $250 million in investments while Kenya is closer to a billion dollars while Nigeria is closer to 2 billion. You have to ask yourselves, what are they doing right that we are not? The difference is in regulation. ”

Kimbugwe was interviewed by HiPipo as a part of the 40 days 40 fintechs initiative. The annual event is currently ongoing to shine a light on technology that allows financial inclusion and breaks down digital barriers to bringing more people into the transactional space. 

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