Kenya: Equity Rolls Out SIM Cards for Mobile Money Service

Money Transfer

Equity Bank announced last week it will reduce cost of transferring money through mobile phones by up to half the prevailing average market rates when its service goes live in July.

Mobile money services will be rolled out before voice and data services which are also in the pipeline, the bank said when it made public its strategy of integrating its banking with telecommunications services.

It started market testing for the mobile banking platform yesterday by issuing SIM cards for its staff.

The bank is targeting an ambitious 10 million customers and has already set aside funds to facilitate its customers to acquire 10 million smartphones on credit payable in 36 months.

"We are starting with our 15,000 staff but come July every Equity customer should walk into any branch and obtain a SIM card," chief executive James Mwangi said. "All our efforts in the past failed because when a telecom comes in as a middleman it becomes almost impossible to offer these services at affordable rates. "

The bank will charge a fee of one per cent of total amount with a cap of Sh25 for transactions within its network.

Charges for sending money to other mobile networks, bank and payment services firms will however be higher depending on external fees, Mwangi said.

The mobile banking platform will be linked to its bank accounts, meaning one will have to become a customer with Equity to enroll.