Safaricom on Tuesday, March 2 unveiled a partnership with the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), rolling out a smart mobile payment solution for students of higher learning institution allowing them to access or utilize their loans and bursaries.
The service will be accessible via USSD or a mobile app, and is expected to serve a wide range of purposes. Notably, the solution is designed to promote responsible spending of student loans by locking in funds for specific allocations, such as tuition or library fees.
The locked in funds will only be payable to the specific Paybill account of the recipient’s University or TVET institution. Students will be able to transfer funds they have allocated for their upkeep to their regular M-Pesa wallets.
HELB stated that the solution marked a major milestone in their digitization strategy.
Importantly, the service will also allow students and graduates to keep track of repayments and generate statements.
Users of the solution will benefit from other features including notifications and the financial planning tool.
“The solution will create efficiencies for all stakeholders by reducing queues during registration as students can now pay through their mobile phones. There will be effective management and monitoring of all loans throughout the loan lifecycle,” Safaricom noted in a statement.
HELB CEO Charles Ringera noted that the solution was ideal to transform management of student loans as the current crop of youth is quite savvy having grown up around technology.
“This rollout marks a major milestone in our digitisation journey. It not only enhances efficiency in our operations, but also enables us to step up the experience of beneficiaries, who are digital natives.
“The solution will allow the student to access and make transactions within the solution’s ecosystem,” he asserted.
The platform grants HELB visibility of funds from various sources, which it can aggregate, reconcile real-time and report to its financiers.
The students upkeep allowance can now also be transferred into the student’s M-PESA wallet for everyday use.
Safaricom, on the other hand, highlighted the transformative opportunities afforded by technology in different areas.
“Technology today is not only revolutionizing every aspect of our lives but also creating opportunities to enhance efficiency and accountability. We are pleased to support the Higher Education Loans Board to deploy a solution that suits the digital lifestyle of students in tertiary institutions,” noted Chief Financial Services Officer Sitoyo Lokopoiyit.