“We are very proud to launch this capability along with Safaricom, which is straight2bank mobile wallet. We are giving our corporate customers an opportunity to pay the unbanked clients and unbanked beneficiaries in remote locations using mobile pesa, which is very prevalent in the market,” Standard Chartered East Africa head of transactional banking Apurva Jain told CNBC Africa.
Mobile payments and mobile banking services have gained momentum in a number of countries across the continent. This is led by operators looking to add their portfolio of value added services as well as by banks and financial service providers.
Roughly 80 per cent of the adult population in Kenya is on m-pesa, a mobile money service pioneered by mobile network operator Safaricom. M-pesa users also make up a much larger percentage than the country’s entire banked population.
The bank2wallet payment service will help reduce the cost of sending money to remote locations as payments can now be done electronically, saving additional costs and time.
“In terms of time, it’s extremely efficient [because] it’s near real time. As soon as we make the payments, the beneficiary receives the payment,” Jain explained.
“Once they’ve received the payments electronically, they have a record of who has been paid, when and within acknowledgement, which the beneficiary gets as an sms. Overall, for the entire ecosystem, it’s extremely beneficial.”
Jain added that Kenya’s central and commercial banks were currently working on a strategy to improve financial inclusion. This is to ensure that a higher percentage of population becomes a part of the country’s financial network.
“That is why you’ll see, across the regions, lots of banks and central banks are leading the way in electronic transactions. Mobile money falls squarely into it. There are more m-pesa agents than there are bank branches in Kenya, and 43 per cent of Kenya GDP passes through mobile money and m-pesa,” said Jain.
“From that perspective, it is something extremely relevant for the business and something which the society is benefitting from and will benefit from going forward as well.”