In a bid to cut down transaction costs for its consumers and deepen financial inclusion, Kenya’s top three telecom companies are poised to start offering cross-network cash transfers this week.
The companies that are Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya will roll out the mobile money interoperability on 10 April. Interoperability means that is that funds will move directly from the sender’s wallet to the recipient’s wallet.
Beyond that, interoperability in Kenya will allow consumers the ability to access different services in case on network experience technical hitches.
Kenya now joins 15 other countries worldwide that has successfully implemented wallet-to-wallet interoperability. In Africa, Kenya becomes the second country in the continent to introduce mobile money Interoperability after Tanzania which launched wallet-to-wallet interoperability in September 2016.
In a joint statement issued on Friday, the three companies said that the customers will now be able to send and receive money directly to and from each other, irrespective of the network they are on, allowing them more flexibility and convenience when carrying out their transactions.
“A customer would receive an SMS from another network notifying them of money that had been sent. They would have to withdraw that money from the sender’s network and then deposit the same into their own wallet,” read the statement.
“With such tremendous achievement, the move to launch mobile money interoperability can only be seen as another great step towards furthering financial inclusion,” added the statement.
Kenya pioneered mobile transfer worldwide when Safaricom launched M-Pesa in March 2007. The sector has since grown with the data from Communication Authority indicating that payments hit over 2 trillion shillings ($2 billion) in September last year.
Currently, Safaricom enjoys the largest market share and accounts for 80 percent market share.