New 'M-shwari-like' service launched in Kenya


Safaricom has entered into a partnership with a leading bank in Kenya, the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), to launch a mobile banking product similar to M-shwari, named KCB-MPesa Account.

The M-shwari product, in conjunction with Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), has been well received and seen over 10 million bank accounts launched with Kshs 153 billion in loans taken so far.

KCB is expected to try to replicate this success with the new product. Customers will be able to take up loans from Kshs 50 to Kshs 1 million with a payment arrangement of between one and six months at an interest rate which starts from 2%.

The product reflects a deeper integration of Safaricom's mobile money service, MPesa with KCB bank accounts. Currently, KCB says that they have seen deposits and withdrawal from their accounts through MPesa top Kshs 125 billion (Kshs 59 billion in deposits and Kshs 66 billion in withdrawals).

KCB also said it is seeing an average of 100,000 transactions per day.

"This is a new frontier in the evolution of the mobile money journey for both institutions that will match up the best of what East Africa's most successful mobile operator and leading bank have to offer," said Joshua Oigara, CEO, KCB Group. "This product is a crucial answer to our country's effort to empower millions of Kenyans by availing credit conveniently through their mobile phones."

"Mobile technology has greatly transformed our lifestyles in the 21st century. It is increasingly making it more convenient for customers to pay utility bills, withdraw or deposit money in their bank accounts as well as borrow by the click of a button," Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore commented.

The partnership aims to rope more Kenyans into the financial inclusion circle. Currently, all banks in the country have embraced mobile money integration, enabling customers to deposit or withdraw using mobile money service.