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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

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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: fmuli@businesstoday.co.ke or mulifranc2@gmail.com

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