Banking industry unveils PesaLink brand

Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), the umbrella body of the banking industry, has today unveiled the PesaLink brand and kicked-off a phased rollout of the digital payments platform that is expected to cut the cost of transactions and transform the way consumers interact with their banks.

PesaLink, will for the first time enable customers to make payments between banks in real-time, around the clock, without having to go through intermediaries. This revolutionary peer-to-peer (P2P) product is offered by Integrated Payment Services Limited (IPSL), a fully-owned subsidiary of KBA formed to implement the platform upon which this and other digital innovations will run.

KBA on 8th February 2017 received support from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to initiate the roll-out of PesaLink to banks and their customers. The phased implementation will begin with the banks that have completed the pilot exercise and have received product approvals, including Standard Chartered Bank; Co-Operative Bank; Barclays Bank; Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA); I & M Bank; Diamond Trust Bank; Gulf African Bank; Guardian Bank; Victoria Commercial Bank; Credit Bank; Prime Bank; and Middle East Bank.  As the first set of banks roll out the product to their customers, the rest of the banks are in various stages of testing the system.

Through KBA, banks have invested to develop PesaLink, which signals the banks’ view of the role they see digital and mobile technology playing in the national payment system.  The product has been in the making since 2013, when KBA member banks decided to invest in an industrywide switch, which is an integrated information sharing network.

“What PesaLink demonstrates is that KBA and the member banks are aware of their duty to serve customers, innovate and create value for our economy,” said KBA Vice Chairman John Gachora who also serves as the banks’ representative on the IPSL board of directors.

“PesaLink is proof that the banking industry has embraced the technology revolution sweeping across the payments industry. It is through such innovations that Kenya earns its title as a global leader in fintech innovation,” added Gachora.

On his part, KBA Chief Executive Officer, Habil Olaka said PesaLink has been developed as a complementary tool to existing bank products, including mobile money transfer and related wallets.  PesaLink, he added, has been designed using world-class technology necessitating the integration of a robust network security assurance and failover system to ensure service availability.

“The investment by KBA in this product is focused on delivering an advanced solution that can handle bank customer transactions around the clock,” said Olaka. “The system will enable users to transact as low as Sh10 to as much as Sh999, 999 across the banking system. In effect, it will facilitate both large transactions, as well as such micropayments that millions of Kenyan settle in cash every day, including paying for groceries at the market, a haircut or bus fare,” he said.

Commenting on the progress made leading to the brand unveil, IPSL Chief Executive Officer, Jennifer Theuri, said that crucial milestones had been achieved in operationalizing the system and securing support from Central Bank to commence the customer registration process.

“We are thankful for the support we have received from our regulator throughout this process,” said Ms. Theuri. “We are confident that we are creating value for the banking industry as PesaLink will provide a safe, secure and cost efficient platform for P2P money transfer. These transfers will be initiated from the main bank channels, namely Mobile banking, Internet banking, ATM, Branch, and Agency Banking,” she said, adding that the industry-sponsored platform will complement KBA’s existing clearing house services.

Founded under the Central Bank of Kenya’s National Payments System (NPS) guidelines, the platform has been developed to provide interoperability and related fintech solutions for banks. IPSL will also inform policy direction and manage the risks associated with payment systems in the market, while providing technical and related guidance to KBA member banks. For more information visit www.ipsl.co.ke.

Mastercard launches 2KUZE app paving way for cashless East African agricultural sector

Nairobi, Kenya – January 17, 2017 – Mastercard today launched 2KUZE, a digital platform that connects smallholder farmers, agents, buyers and banks in East Africa. 2KUZE, which in Swahili means “Let’s grow together,” enables farmers to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via their feature phones. The platform brings the benefits and security of mobile commerce and payments to farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

2KUZE was developed at the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi, which was set up in 2015 to develop practical and cost-effective financial tools that expand access and help build stable futures for more than 100 million people globally. Through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lab is working with East African entrepreneurs, governments and other stakeholders to develop local products rooted in the company’s global knowhow.

In the initial pilot, 2KUZE is being launched in partnership with Cafédirect Producers Foundation, a non-profit organization working with 300,000 smallholder farmers globally. Currently, 2,000 small-scale farmers in Nandi Hills, Kenya are using the solution to sell their produce and working with farmer-friendly agents to ensure they reach the right buyers for the best price.

“Eighty percent of farmers in Africa are classified as smallholder farmers having less than 1-2 acres of farming land, making it extremely difficult to drive growth and prosperity within this community, ” said Daniel Monehin, division president for Sub-Saharan Africa and head of financial inclusion for International Markets at Mastercard.

“We believe that by using mobile, a technology that is so ubiquitous among farmers in Africa, we can improve financial access, bring in operational efficiency and facilitate faster payments. The collaboration between the Lab team and farmers in the market helped to deliver a solution that can be implemented and make an impact without any major changes to the day-to-day.”

2KUZE makes transacting much safer and simpler for all stakeholders in the agricultural supply chain – the farmer, the buyer and the agent. Farmers using 2KUZE can conduct the entire transaction of selling produce and receiving payments via their feature phones, without having to walk for hours to the markets. The platform enables farmers to capture a greater percentage of the wholesale value of their goods by providing price transparency, more direct access to buyers and empowerment of farmer-friendly agents.

This solution in particular supports women farmers, who often have household duties that prevent them from leaving the farm gate and are more often subject to having to take whatever deal is given to them on the day. Digitizing these transactions in a trusted, auditable environment provides a legitimate financial footprint, opening up access to loans and other financial services, and also introducing a more efficient process that benefits the entire value chain, as well as the overall economy.

Mastercard Lab is exploring the potential for 2KUZE to help farming communities receive the right level of investment and to encourage more efficient ways of doing business with smallholder farmers.

2KUZE is one of several broad-based collaborations on which the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion is working.  The Lab was established in Africa to contribute to the company’s global commitment to connect 500 million people to formal financial services through the use of public-private partnerships with governments, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.

 

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