Raghunath Mandava, CEO, Airtel Africa. Airtel Africa and Standard Chartered have struck a deal to interlink their digital payments channels.

Customers can now send or receive digital payments via Standard Chartered Bank directly to their mobile phones, as well as cash-out their funds at Airtel outlets across Africa following a partnership between the telco and the lender announced officially on Thursday.

Mobile banking transfers between Airtel Money and Standard Chartered Bank are now live in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Remaining products will be rolled out later this year subject to regulatory approvals.

Through the collaboration, Standard Chartered and Airtel Africa will work together to co-create new, innovative products aimed at enhancing the accessibility of financial services and, ultimately, better serve people across Africa.

In line with this, Airtel Money’s customers will be able to make real-time online deposits and withdrawals from Standard Chartered bank accounts, receive international money transfers directly to their wallets, and access savings products amongst other services.

Standard Chartered’s corporate clients will also be able to make rapid and secure bulk disbursements, such as payroll payments, directly into the Airtel Money customers’ wallet which reduces the risks associated with traveling long distances for cash payments and instead customers can go to any Airtel Money agent, kiosk, or branch to cash-out their funds.

Commenting on the collaboration, Sunil Kaushal, StanChart’s Regional CEO, Africa, and Middle East said the partnership will accelerate his company’s mobile and digital-led strategy to provide the best financial services to Africa.

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“Over the past year, Standard Chartered has rapidly launched digital banks across 9 countries on the continent, allowing our customers to enjoy seamless services from the safety of their homes even during the peak of the pandemic. This partnership will further enhance the ability of our customers to manage and move money safely and securely and create market-leading financial solutions across countries,” said Mr. Kaushal.

The recent announcement is another step taken by Standard Chartered to further extend its reach and enhance its product.

By partnering with mobile wallet providers, the bank has expanded its network into markets where mobile wallets are prevalent, offer solutions that enable corporate and institutional clients to leverage the opportunities presented by mobile money and enable efficient, scalable e-commerce and m-commerce solutions.

This partnership supports Airtel Africa’s efforts to expand the range and depth of its Airtel Money offerings across its 19 million customer base, with new products and services helping to promote the wider adoption of mobile money and increasing financial inclusion.

“Our relationship with Standard Chartered boosts financial inclusion across the continent, giving millions of people access to valuable banking services. We continue to invest heavily in cashing in and cashing out locations for our customers and increase our distribution,” said Raghunath Mandava, CEO, Airtel Africa.

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Samuel Gitonga is a senior reporter at BUSINESS TODAY. Email: [email protected]

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