What is Perfect Money? How do you fund it and withdraw from it in Kenya? Is it safe to use? Get your answers to these and other questions about Perfect Money and its operations in Kenya.
Perfect Money calls itself a 'new generation of internet payment system'. The electronic payments service adds that it 'targets to bring transactions on the internet to the ideal level'.
But how well does the service live up to these lofty goals and standards? Is Perfect Money all it's cracked up to be?
I set out to find out. Read on to learn if you should entrust your hard-earned money with Perfect Money.
Perfect Money is an e-money transfer service that allows members to make payments online and transfer funds within the platform. The Perfect Money system works through a cryptocurrency, which means all fiat currency deposits have to go through certified exchanges that convert them into Perfect Money's e-currency.
Perfect Money stores members' funds in a digital wallet whose balances can be in USD, Euro, or Troy oz for the gold you buy through the platform. In addition, balances on your digital wallet earn monthly interest, which is 4% per annum.
It's said that a group of cryptology enthusiasts started Perfect Money in Panama in 2007. However, the company has since moved its headquarters to Kowloon, Hong Kong.
The company is well established in Russia but it also operates in Eastern Europe and some parts of Asia. Unfortunately, Perfect Money is not licensed to operate in and does not allow accounts from the USA.
According to Perfect Money, members can lend funds from their digital wallets to other members on the platform and earn interest. In addition, the system allows you to set your interest rate as a lender.
You can use your Perfect Money account to buy Gold, Bitcoin, and foreign currency online. Members can also use Perfect Money e-vouchers and pre-paid cards to pay for goods and services online. However, there needs to be more merchants or marketplaces that accept Perfect Money e-currency.
To fund your account, Perfect Money offers several options. These include wire transfers, Bitcoin, e-currency, and cash deposits through the local exchangers it works with. It uses the same methods for withdrawals.
Opening a Perfect Money account is straightforward. There is a form that you complete, after which you will receive an email with your User ID, which is a number with several digits.
You use your user ID and a password that you set to log into your account. So soon as I was in, I was ready to fund my account. My Perfect Money account has three separate sub-accounts, the USD account, the Euro account, and the e-metals account.
Perfect Money has tiers that members upgrade to over time, and depending on how much they have deposited into their accounts. The platform requires you to maintain a minimum balance of USD100 in your digital wallet. All balances are held as Perfect Money units, not USD or other fiat currency.
You can fund your Perfect Money account in seven ways, including Wire transfers, Bitcoin, cash deposits, and e-currency that you can buy through the company's partners.
To make a deposit, you must raise an invoice in Perfect Money. The invoice also generates what they call a protection code. You will then take that code and the invoice number to an exchanger nearest to you and make the cash deposit, which they will convert to Perfect Money units before depositing in your account.
The minimum you can deposit in cash is USD 5,000. You can then use this money to pay for goods at online merchants that accept Perfect Money, lend to other members at interest, or buy Bitcoin and gold, among other assets.
You can make instant bank transfers, but this option is only available in Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Switzerland. In addition, cash terminals where you can walk in and deposit directly into your account are available, but only to people in Russia and Ukraine.
Perfect Money has generated much interest in Kenya, where people constantly research ways to make money online. The big question for these people is how to withdraw their money or interest income.
Unsurprisingly, many Kenyans want to know if they can withdraw from Perfect Money into their M-Pesa wallets:
No, you cannot transfer money from Perfect Money to M-Pesa. This is because Perfect Money has no dedicated withdrawal service for M-Pesa.
You can only withdraw through the above methods, which do not include Visa, Mastercard, or M-Pesa. From my research, Perfect Money has no partners in Kenya, which complicates depositing and withdrawing money.
Though the company says it has a pre-paid Visa card that members can buy, very little information is provided about how you can get or what it costs to sign up or use. That leaves e-vouchers as the second most convenient way to withdraw, which only works if you can find anyone looking to buy them for fiat cash.
If you prefer to use your M-Pesa mobile money wallet to manage your funds, you must move it through a few places, which all charge their own fees. This makes withdrawing from Perfect Money potentially expensive.
I have not used Perfect Money, so I cannot judge its legitimacy. However, from the outside looking in, the company's website gives me with little confidence.
The whole aesthetic of the website and the language used in its copy looks and reads too flowery. While a cluttered and less than bright and cheery website does not make a company less legitimate, it does not reassure new users that they are in a safe place.
The language used throughout the Perfect Money website is vague and the itself is sloppy. For example, the copy describes the service as a 'system', which does not sound like something you would want to put your money in.
A business builds its reputation on the quality of its partnerships, the professional bodies that recognise it, and its certifications. These are particularly important for a financial services company that handles people's money and personal information.
I could not find any trust badges on the Perfect Money website. You visit any other fintech company's website and you will see different trust signals across the website.
On the IntaSend website, Mastercard, Visa, M-Pesa, and Bitcoin are prominently displayed as payment methods.
As shown above, you will also see PCI DSS-compliant and SISA-validated badges on the footer. These tell me IntaSend ascribes to the highest credit card security standards.
Payoneer also proudly displays the leading brands that trust it. As does PayPal:
Skrill embeds some of its +22,000 Trustpilot reviews on the homepage:
I want to use a digital wallet I can fully trust. Even though many people say Perfect Money is secure, I want to feel when I land on the website. Nothing I have seen on Perfect Money reassures me that my money will be safe.
My first encounter with many digital products I use daily was through their blog posts, case studies, and other helpful content they share. I found a few of them while researching on Google.
The blog content on Perfect Money could be more helpful. There is little that suggests there's a publishing schedule, too. And if you look the company up online, you will not find any mentions of it in the main press.
As well as a few TrustPilot reviews proclaiming its legitimacy, you will also find several complaints of people claiming to have lost money on TrustPilot. Some former users claim that they lost money after their accounts were frozen.
I expected to undergo an identity verification process, but I was never asked for one. There is no two-step verification to protect my account from unauthorised use, either.
Neither does Perfect Money send a One-Time-Password to prove that I am in the country where I say I am a resident or whether the telephone number I have given is genuine.
How does Perfect Money know the money I am depositing is legally acquired? Could I not use their system to wash dirty money if I can deposit a cash amount as large as USD 5,000?
You would think there would be some account verification process to at least make it hard to use their system for laundering money. The verification process they have there is voluntary.
Instead of making it mandatory as you would expect with proper KYC processes, they have a 'promotion' where those who verify their accounts unlock lower fees and premium service.
So, if account holders can opt out of account verification, and there's no two-step verification when logging in, how does Perfect Money know that I am whom I say I am?
What guarantee do I have that my money, which they lend to other members of their system, is safe? Especially since transactions on the platform are irreversible. Presumably, verification is mandatory for those who intend to borrow. Still, the laxity of the entire process needs to inspire confidence.
The decision to use Perfect Money is entirely up to you. However, after my due diligence, I would not put my money in Perfect Money.
I would not open an account and, in the next hour, deposit USD 5,000 through a third party so it can be wired halfway across the world. There are not enough safeguards built into this system. There are too many things that can go wrong.
Those who use the company's services may have entirely different opinions. But a common thread I picked from the bad reviews I read about Perfect Money is that things went well until their accounts were frozen. For some, attempts at dispute resolution and recovery of funds were ignored.
If you are like me, I would want my bank, digital or brick-and-mortar, to know me better before handling my money. That's perhaps why Perfect Money isn't registered in countries that have strong financial regulation systems and laws.
Many of our customers at IntaSend are freelancers and online merchants whose businesses require e-wallets with robust security features that allow them to request, send, and receive payments quickly and securely.
Among the prerequisite features for a service like ours are multiple and convenient payment and withdrawal methods. As well as the standard Visa and Mastercard, we have also added Bitcoin as a payment option.
M-Pesa is the most convenient withdrawal and payment method for people in our primary market, Kenya. That is why we have included it as a funding and payment method and why our payment gateways for both WooCommerce and Shopify have them as payment options.
We have developed special tools for freelancers that use our platform to help them invoice clients and request payment through our no-code payment links.
Perfect Money does not have these features and is thus unsuitable. It tries to be too many things simultaneously without doing any of them particularly well.
We believe IntaSend is a safer alternative. A registered fintech startup that subscribes to global bank card security standards, IntaSend has built-in tools and safeguards to protect your information and secure your funds.
Sign up with IntaSend and enjoy safer, faster, and more convenient ways to pay and get paid.