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mVisa to shake up market with free mobile money transfers

mVisa customers will be able to make card-less purchases or send & receive money using their mobile phones



Visa Group Country Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr Andrew Torre chats Cabinet Secretary for Information and Communication Joe Mucheru during the launch of mVisa.

Visa is set to jolt the mobile money transfer service market after announcing that Kenyans will be able to send money to each other domestically without paying transaction fees through the recently launched partnership between mVisa and commercial banks.

The initiative is set to pose stiff competition to Safaricom’s M-Pesa, Airtel’s Airtelmoney and Equity Bank’s Equitel, among other players in the segment, by providing free person-to-person (P2P) transactions and has on board nine Kenyan banks who have either enabled mVisa on their mobile banking applications and/or have acquired merchants to be able to accept mVisa.

Barclays Bank, Cooperative Bank, Ecobank, Family Bank, KCB Bank, National Bank of Kenya, NIC Bank, Prime Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank customers with mVisa will be able enjoy the service beginning today (Friday).

Other banks either live or about to go live with mVisa include Diamond Trust Bank and Stanbic.

“This is a significant move especially when you consider how much Kenyans spend on transaction fees for mobile money transfers every year. With 38.9 million active mobile phone subscriptions and Ksh515.9 billion in person-to-person money transfers within the last quarter of 2016, mobile
money payments have become an integral part of Kenyans’ lives,” said Group Country Manager for Visa Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr Andrew Torre.

“There is a strong sense of community here with people often sending funds to family, friends and even strangers in times of need, celebration or crisis. We hope to enhance this by eliminating barriers such as transaction costs2 , while giving customers a convenient, secure and affordable experience. We are excited to continue to build momentum around mVisa to digitise payments with a scalable and interoperable solution that is not limited by the mobile network, bank, or type of handset used,” added Torre.

Consumers can use mVisa to send money directly from their bank to a recipient’s bank account regardless of whether they use a smart phone or feature phone. Transactions are processed via Visa’s global network, VisaNet, applying the scale, security and reliability of Visa to mobile payments in emerging markets.

mVisa will now also be accepted at thousands of merchant locations across the country including Nakumatt, KenolKobil, IMAX Theaters, EatOut, Zucchini, Little Cab, Kenya Airways, and Bata. mVisa will soon be accepted at thousands of merchants aggregated through Direct Pay Online and Jambo Pay, enabling an even easier eCommerce experience for Kenyans.

“We are also very excited to see more and more merchants come on board every
day as they are begin to understand the benefits that mVisa brings, including real-time notifications of payments entering their bank account and access to sales and transactions history,” Torre said.

“Smaller merchants in particular, have realised that they no longer have to invest in expensive point of sale infrastructure as mVisa gives them the freedom to accept bank to bank payments in a convenient, secure and affordable manner that their customers can appreciate and trust. We have
multiple campaigns lined up for the coming months to support our merchants and encourage new customers to experience mVisa at various locations across the country.”

Torre spoke Thursday evening at a client event hosted at a Nairobi hotel that was attended by, among others,  Information, Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary Mr Joseph Mucheru.

“mVisa is a trailblazer; the mobile First approach is ideal for our ecosystem where mobile penetration is at a staggering 88%. mVisa customers will be able to make card-less purchases or send & receive money using their mobile phones,” said Mucheru.

“The burden of carrying several cards and other instruments is no more, customers will cherish the convenience and freedom of this secure electronic transactions.”

The mVisa implementation in Kenya benefited from the Visa Developer Platform, which allowed all partner banks the ability to integrate the mVisa APIs directly into their mobile banking apps.

While rolling out a new solution with a bank typically can take a very long time from development to implementation and testing, utilising the Visa Developer Platform interface reduced the time taken significantly. This helped to speed up the number of banks who have been able to roll out the mVisa solution in Kenya.

mVisa is now live in Kenya, India, Rwanda and Egypt with plans to launch in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Vietnam underway.

Editor and writer at BUSINESS TODAY, Muli has a passion for human interest stories that have a big impact on economic development. He holds a BSc in Communication and Journalism from Moi University and has worked for various organisations including Kenya Television Service. Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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Business News

Jumia takes on competition with next day delivery

Online retailer strives to outdo the growing competition from other online retailers such as Kilimall, Safmall and other small retailers realising the potential in online marketing



Jumia has re-energised its service, Jumia Express, formerly Jumia First, in order to reduce its delivery time to all Kenyan customers.

Announcing the move, Jumia Managing Director Sam Chappatte said that only products on the site with a Jumia Express logo will be delivered next day in Nairobi, and one day faster than normal in other parts of the country. These products include groceries, fashion, smartphones, TVs and home appliances.

“Given that these products are sitting in our warehouse, we are guaranteed to have 100% availability and can pick and pack these products much faster than those that are sitting with vendors. This ensures Jumia Express orders are faster,” said Chappatte.

This comes as the online retailer strives to outdo the growing competition from other online retailers such as Kilimall, Safmall and other small retailers realising the potential in online marketing. Jumia has also supplemented the service by doubling the number of vendors on the platform so far this year, and grown its assortment 10 times to 350,000 products since last year.

“Our customers want us to deliver as fast as possible. We have been working very hard to make this happen, and can now consistently deliver Jumia Express orders next day within Nairobi and  up to one day faster in the rest of the country. Thousands of products are now available on Jumia Express, with more vendors signing up to the service each week”, said Chappatte.

Related: Jumia Travel launches live chat on Facebook Messenger

Tuskys and Unilever are among suppliers in Kenya whose products are being fulfilled by Jumia Express. The service is made available to Jumia’s vendors at a moderate cost, and is being increasingly sought after by vendors using Jumia as their marketer, as it is linked with higher sales and saves warehousing space.

Small vendors like Laura Aura, whose shop name on Jumia is Mikalla Hair Essentials, says this is a welcome advantage as she sometimes struggles with overstocking.

“My focus now is on re-stocking as I don’t have to worry about space. Especially now that we are entering another re-election period, it is safer to store our goods with Jumia under Jumia Express and let them sell for us,” said Ms Aura.

Jumia Express is only available to local vendors. Products coming from abroad on the Jumia Global program will continue to take 10-12 days to be delivered.


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Business News

Sauti Sol, Bob Collymore surprise visit to Kibera



Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore (center) and Sauti Sol band members Willis Chimano (left) Savara (second left) and Bien-Aime (right), interact with Martha Achieng, a pupil at SHOFCO’s, Kibera School for Girls. This was during Sauti Sol’s and Safaricom CEO Bob Colymore’s visit to SHOFCO’s projects. Key among the projects being the aerial water piping system supported by Safaricom Foundation to the tune of Ksh12 Million.

READ: The 31-year-old Kenyan who makes Sh30 million in a bad month

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Business News

Stima Sacco to sponsor financial literacy event

Next month’s forum will bring all the financial services players under one platform to enable Kenyans get information they require



Stima Sacco are the official sponsors of the Finance Literacy and Opportunity Week Kenya (FLOWK). The event, which is being hosted by Finpro Solutions and Event Guru Solutions, will be held on October 26 and 27 at the Kenya International Convention Centre in Nairobi.

John Kamwaro, the CEO of Event Guru Solutions, said their main aim is to bring all the financial services players under one platform to enable Kenyans get the information required and as a result promote financial literacy.

The event will see financial key players, influencers and consultants engage in the exhibition and conference at the same time.

READ: Stima Sacco treats members to Sh1.2 billion dividend

It being Kenya’s first ever financial expo, its philosophy is to sensitise and develop opportunities in the financial sector for Kenyans. Some of the financial providers expected at the event are Saccos, banks, insurance companies, accounting firms, SMEs, private investors and private companies.

According to Jack Kulova, the Corporate Communications Manager at Stima Sacco, FLOWK is an excellent opportunity for the Sacco to showcase its unique proposition to the market as well as contribute to the overall financial deepening agenda.

Based on a report released by the Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Kenya, Saccos form a vital part of Kenya’s financial system which provide services to approximately 14 million Kenyans and frequently offer services, which cannot be found elsewhere.

Related: Stanchart and other banks with highest account charges

They provide an important alternative institutional form to banks which has seen many farmers in rural areas depend on them for savings, credit and payment services.  Global experience from the financial crisis of 2007/08 suggests that this diversity can contribute to resilience.

“FLOWK, which is a collaborative platform to provide Kenyans with awareness, access, business-readiness and linkages to funding opportunities, is an inclusive programme, and is welcoming the participation of other key partners in the financial services sector. Stima Sacco is committed to developing this initiative into a sustainable and long-term Programme,” said Kulova.

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Business News

Glimpse at new currency set to released

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich says the design work has largely been completed and the feature is in its final stages before the new currency can be taken to the printer



One of the purported new generation currency notes doing the rounds on social media

The Central Bank of Kenya is in the final stages of adding security features on the new-generation currency before rolling them out before the end of the year, the National Treasury has confirmed. Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich says the bank has completed the designs of the currency and is in the process of procuring a printer.

“Central Bank is working on this, they are in the process of procuring the printer, and the design work has largely been completed, the feature is in its final stages and then proceeds to print,” Rotich said last Thursday.

This confirmation comes after speculation spread on social media last week on some of the purported leaked designs bearing images of the Big Five wild animals found in the country. The leaked images showed that the Ksh500 note will bear the image of a lion, Ksh200 note the image of a rhino, Ksh1,000 the image of an elephant and Ksh100 note the image of a cheetah.

However, the Central Bank is yet to confirm the authenticity of these images and questions by The Star newspaper on the same were not responded to. The CBK communications team only referre to what the Governor, Patrick Njoroge, said last week.

Related: Prof Ndung’u leaves Central Bank with no clear legacy

Addressing a media briefing, the governor said the rollout of the new currency will be done in accordance with the Central Bank Act and other laws that govern the process.

“The issue is not transition, the issue is where do we end up, that’s why we are very clear on how we want to see the new regime currency,” Njoroge said.

The pressure to release the new generation currency was mounted on CBK two weeks ago when activist Okiya Omtatah wrote a letter addressed to the governor, giving the bank seven days to remove the image of the late President Jomo Kenyatta and retired head of state Daniel Moi from the current currency. The Sh40 coin bearing the image of President Mwai Kibaki will also be affected.

Omtatah based his case on Article 231 of the 2010 Constitution which states that “notes and coins issued by the Central Bank of Kenya may bear images that depict or symbolise Kenya or an aspect of Kenya but shall not bear the portrait of any individual.”

ALSO SEE: New-look currency to drop president portrait

On the start of its implementation, the new Constitution introduced in August 2010 gave the Central Bank a five-year period to replace the old currency with the new ones. However, like Rotich, Njoroge declined to give a timeline for the rollout, citing unfinished business in the plan.

Appearing before the Senate in March last year, Governor Njoroge said the intention was to rollout the new currency before the end of September this year. He added that the process will require Ksh18 billion to withdraw the current notes in circulation for a period of three years in addition to carrying out mass awareness campaigns across the country. Currently, the notes in circulation are printed by currency service provider De La Rue, based in Ruaraka.

READ: Bad financial habits you picked from your parents that you must drop

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