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CBN Says TransferWise, Azimo Not Registered In Nigeria, Users Fault Apex Bank

Last updated on September 10th, 2021 at 06:04 pm


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned that Azimo Money Transfer isn’t a registered IMTO in Nigeria.

The apex bank in a tweet also warned Nigerians to steer clear of another international money transfer operator TransferWise, saying they’re not licensed to handle money transfers in Nigeria.

In properly managed and regulated by the CBN, International Money Transfer Operators IMTOs can make huge contributions to the economy of a country.


In a disclaimer signed the Acting Director of Corporate Communications at CBN Osita Nwanisobi, Nigeria’s apex bank said:

The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to the activities of Messrs Azimo and Transfer Wise both of which are purportedly transacting business, albeit unauthorized, as International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs).

CBN called on Nigerians home and abroad to “desist” from patronising the two IMTOs, saying, “Anyone who patronises the unregistered companies does so at his or her own risk.”

Founded in 2012 by Michael Kent, Azimo, a London-Based money transfer service is one of the fastest-growing money transfer startups in Europe.

It also prides itself as a “faster, safer way to send money to more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.”

Is Azimo a scam?

It isn’t judging by the reputable personnel on its team. Besides, it is authorised and regulated by the FCA in the UK and by DNB in the EU and used by more than 1 million users globally.

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The founder of Azimo, Kent, is also a co-founder of Tandem Bank while the Chief Executive Officer of the global money transfer Richard Ambrose spent nearly a decade at eBay and later Paypal.

Is It Safe To Use TransferWise?

Founded by Estonians Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus in January 2011, TransferWise is another London-based online money transfer service which supports more than 750 currency routes across the world including GBP, USD, EUR, AUD and CAD.

It also provides multi-currency accounts for its customers across the globe with hundreds of Nigerian customers.

It is safe to use TransferWise because it is fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The company also verifies its users so that its platform and app aren’t used for money laundering and it’s regarded as one of the safest platforms to use for cross-border money transfer.

Nigerians fault CBN Over TransferWise, AZIMO Disclaimer

One of TransferWise users Olumide Omotoso called on the CBN to put its house in order, saying:

Azimo and Transfer wise are far more reliable than you guys. This discrediting for re-inforces your inability to deliver proper financial services and rather just take it back to the military systems.

Another user who claimed to be transferwise customer for several years said he never had an issue using the platform.

Transferwise has been reliable for years, never had an issue with my transfers and their fees are so much less than the local banks.

Another user condemned the CBN’s directive

You can’t build an app to help transfer money efficiently and with less stress but you rather condemned the well-equipped organizations which have come to our aid in trying times. How many people have the time to use western union? Think now, I thought we have modern bankers na.

Another one:

These are reliable companies. What effort has the CBN made to bring them on the register before a disclaimer? Have there been any complaints about them that we were not informed of? If American denounced Western Union and the likes like that how many will they have

Another user, Bosun Odeyemi tweeted:

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Transferwise is providing a solution that is convenient where no other registered IMTO by @cenbank is providing. More solutions that address the forex racketing issues are going to spring up.

GT Bank, UBA, Others Disown Azimo

Before the CBN’s statement, some of Nigeria’s financial institutions like GT Bank, Fidelity Bank, UBA, Zenith, and First Bank had sent disclaimers to their customers.

The banks are listed on the website of Azimo as agents in Nigeria.

Specifically, First Bank sent an email to its customers warning its customers that it is not one of the receiving banks on the platform and that Azimo is also not a registered Money Transfer Operator (MTO).

One of the disclaimers read:

“We disclaim the listing of FirstBank as one of the receiving or paying Banks on by Azimo Limited, offering Global Money Transfer Services. FirstBank has no affiliation with Azimo and hereby publicly disassociates itself from it.

Azimo is not a registered Money Transfer Service with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as such, not licensed in Nigeria. Anyone who transacts with Azimo is therefore doing so at his/her peril.”

What does The CBN Want?

Usually, IMTOs are registered in Nigeria to handle cross-border services for Nigerian at home and abroad.

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It’s most likely the two global financial firms are yet to register in Nigeria. CBN only want them to do the needful.

What does this mean?

Further transactions by Azimo and TransferWise to commercial banks in Nigeria might attract heavy sanctions from the CBN.

Considering the volume of transactions managed by both firms, we hope they abide by CBN’s directive.

A Twitter user Hold Igbo Leaders Accountable (@ObetaMax) said, “Transferwise sends money within 40 minutes. They’re reliable”

Which of these two cross-border money transfer operators have you used before? Share your thoughts with us

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