Kenyan Fintech startup, JointPesa Limited in partnership with mobile network operator Finserve Africa on Monday launched JointPesa an online escrow platform developed to tap into the online transactions business.
JointPesa just like globally known Escrow.com seeks to monetize trust in online transactions. Thousands of Kenyans have been conned while shopping online. JointPesa acts as a third party whereby a buyer deposits the money on the platform before the seller delivers a product or a service. The money is released to the seller once both parties are satisfied with the transaction.
The platform charges 2.5% of the transaction plus Ksh55 for all deals ranging from Ksh0- Ksh499,999 and 2.5% of the transaction plus Ksh100 for all deals worth half a million and above.
JointPesa says the extra Ksh55 that the buyer incurs serves as a withdrawal fee for the seller.
Data released by cybersecurity firm Serianu in May 2019 showed that the Kenyan economy lost Ksh29.5 billion to cybercrime and related activities in 2018 as tech-savvy criminals continue to become more crafty in their ways.
Speaking during the launch event held at a Nairobi Hotel, JointPesa founder Valentine Kilonzo said that the platform seeks to eliminate fraud and ensure every party in a transaction keeps their word.
“Sellers will no longer lose potential buyers over apprehension. We are building a product where trust will no longer be an issue,” said Ms. Kilonzo.
Kilonzo noted that e-commerce presents great possibilities for Kenya as a country but warned that cybersecurity poses a huge threat hence the start-up is treading with caution.
“We have a case where a seller delivered cameras worth half a million to a client only to be robbed at gunpoint which was a loss of proportional amounts. This happens when the seller feels the deal is too good to lose so they take the uncalculated risk and end up losing their goods,” added Ms. Kilonzo
Uptake of e-commerce depends on a number of factors such as purchasing power, availability of suitable products online, awareness of available opportunities, levels of literacy and degree of confidence in online trade platforms.
Statistics by Google show that there are 13 million active internet users in Kenya alone with 47.6 million active mobile money accounts which accounted for USD 3.6 billion (Ksh362.1 billion) worth of transactions in 2018 alone.
“We want every smartphone user to download the JointPesa app in their phones and use it in every transaction across the world,” said James Mwangi, one of the JointPesa App developers.