How Premise Makes Payments to Africa in Minutes


Premise is a San Francisco-based data and analytics company, that works to increase economic and social transparency in regions where data can be hard to track.

The company tracks macroeconomic trends in real-time by collecting millions of observations on everything from food prices and resource scarcity, to electricity and healthcare access. Organizations such as the World Bank and United Nations use Premise’s data and analysis to drive decision-making.

Currently, Premise is tracking price inflation on a basket of food staples in Tanzania, visiting markets week over week to understand how prices are changing and what’s driving these changes.

These initiatives — and all of Premise’s work — rely on the ability to hire and pay local contributors to document key findings using Premise’s mobile app. What’s more, the company pays the users with mobile money for every accepted observation.

In Tanzania, contributors collect data for Premise, including the price of food staples like rice and cassava flour.

The Payment Dilemma and the BitPesa/Premise Partnership
Premise’s global network comprises 25,000 people in 34 countries. In Tanzania, in particular, the company needed:

  1. an effective way to make small, frequent mobile payments to Tanzania,
  2. a solution to quickly put money in the hands of data collectors on the ground,
  3. a user interface to integrate with Premise’s mobile app and capture a ledger of recorded payments.

To overcome this challenge, Premise turned to BitPesa. Premise began using BitPesa in early 2015 to send frequent bulk mobile payments to Tanzanian contributors’ mobile wallets. Premise can now send any amount, 24/7, and contributors receive Tanzanian shillings on their mobile phones within minutes.

BitPesa offers business customers affordable foreign exchange for African currencies that are difficult for international businesses to purchase. BitPesa sells Tanzanian Shillings and delivers them to mobile money accounts at better than bank rates.

BitPesa also happily accepts bitcoin for payment, making it easy for any international company to work with their platform. Additionally, Premise receives real-time payment confirmations and visibility of past transactions on

Premise’s model encourages entrepreneurship and financial inclusion. By collecting data for Premise, users are able to earn additional income and gain valuable work experience. Families often use the extra income to supplement school fees, clothes, food and items they normally would not be able to afford.

Premise’s Next Move
BitPesa’s ease-of-use product allows Premise to send to an unlimited number of mobile money accounts in multiple countries in Africa. Premise aims to expand its contributor base and regional focus in Africa. This expansion means a greater need to leverage BitPesa as a key payment provider.