The joint strategy is meant to enhance mobile financial services and increase access to banking services across Africa.
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The service has already been launched in Mali and will be rolled-out in several other African countries, including Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Niger, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, during the first half of 2015.
“The partnership aims to facilitate money transfers for both Ecobank and Orange customers by offering them the possibility of topping up their Orange Money e-wallet from their bank account, and vice versa,” said the companies in a joint statement.
“Customers can use their mobile phones to securely transfer money at any time without the need to go to a distribution point or to have physical cash.”
The two companies have launched the service following the signature of a memorandum of understanding. The partnership comes as part of a joint strategy to enhance mobile financial services and to increase access to banking services across Africa.
Orange Money offers easy-to-use mobile financial services that allow transactions to be made remotely and securely, avoiding the need to carry money around.
“With Orange Money, customers can transfer money from their mobile phones to any other customer in the country and, in some countries, internationally,” added the partners.
“They can also pay their water, electricity and television bills and top up their telephone airtime remotely. Depending on the country, they may also benefit from savings and insurance solutions.”
According to the statement, this type of partnership with banks allows a customer to link a bank account with his or her Orange Money account.
“Notably, it is a service that facilitates exchanges between persons with bank accounts and those without. Ecobank customers can also view bank account balance and obtain mini-statements by SMS via the service.”
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Laurent Paillassot, deputy chief executive of Orange in charge of Customer Experience and Mobile Banking, said this partnership between Orange and Ecobank will further enrich customer experience.
“By facilitating exchanges between Ecobank and Orange Money accounts, our customers will be able to conduct financial transactions quickly and in complete security, bringing them the best of both worlds. We want to offer this service wherever it makes sense,” said Paillassot.
Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank’s group executive in charge of domestic banking, said this roll-out further demonstrates Ecobank’s commitment to make branchless banking a reality by activating multiple service channels in every country in which we operate.
“Our unique pan-African footprint also enables us to be at the forefront of efforts to develop the market for cross-border mobile financial services in Africa,” said Akinwuntan.