Mobile payments grew by 15 percent to KES 1.19 trillion at the end of April from KES 1.04 trillion in the same period in 2016, according to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). This double-digit growth came despite the commercial banks launching their own platform for bank-to-bank cash transfers in February, which eliminates going through telecom operators’ wallets.
According to Business Daily lenders were banking on PesaLink to take a bite of the lucrative digital cash market, but experts say given the utility and ubiquity of mobile money, the lenders’ platform is not likely to slow down mobile money growth.
A former head of the national payments system at the CBK, Stephen Nduati, described PesaLink as a low-level, instantaneous gross settlement platform where customers instruct banks to transfer funds electronically.
The scope of use of mobile money has grown beyond peer transfers to include loan disbursement, receiving dividends, diaspora remittances, sports betting, paying for shopping and utility bills, and lately, selling government securities, with KES 150 million raised for the inaugural M-Akiba bond.
Tangaza Pesa, CEO, Oscar Ikinu said mobile money beats PesaLink due to the accessibility of the service through agents. Kenya had 34.28 million mobile money users who transact on six major platforms, namely M-Pesa, MobiKash, Airtel Money, Orange Money, Tangaza and Equitel. PesaLink has signed up over 3.5 million customers.