Zap and StanChart go global

September 24, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 24 – Mobile telecommunications provider Zain has announced an enhancement of its mobile banking service, Zap in partnership with Standard Chartered and CitiBank.

The company said that Zap customers can now receive money from any bank account around the world and easily send money to any bank in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. This is the first time in the world that any mobile bank account has been configured so that its users can receive funds from anywhere in the world directly to their mobile handset as well as send funds directly to their nank accounts.

Dr Saad Al Barrak, Zain Group’s Chief Executive Officer said: " Ability to send money from the mobile phone to any bank account in East Africa will enable businesses to perform more efficiently. This will be of great assistance to all of our customers to enhance their livelihood fulfilling our brand promise of ‘A Wonderful World’.”

Zap is currently available to over 100 million people in East Africa and run in partnership with CitiBank and Standard Chartered Bank. It has been available in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda for six months and will be rolled out across all Zain operations.

Zap customers in East Africa use the service to pay for their electricity and water bills, pay for petrol at Shell and Total stations, settle their satellite television bills with DSTV and pay for their groceries.

The Zap service is included as part of Zain’s pioneering ‘One Network’ service, meaning that customers will be able to manage their Zap accounts even while away from the home country. One Network allows travelling customers to move across geographic borders without roaming surcharges, recharge their mobile phones with locally purchased top up cards and receive calls for free.

Eighty percent of Kenya\’s and 95 percent of Tanzania\’s and Uganda\’s populations do not have have access to banking services.

Zain, Citigroup and Standard Chartered Bank are ensuring that services meet all the required country and International banking regulations as stipulated by respective Central Banks. In addition Zain’s banking partners will facilitate payments and settlement processes in accordance with the terms and conditions agreed with their national banking regulations.

"This service will enable families and businesses to access funds from around the world very swiftly and very securely. It has the potential to transform banking in Africa and will help overcome many of the obstacles presented by providing banking services to remote and rural communities who are now able to access global funds swiftly,” Standard Chartered Bank’s Head of Consumer Banking, East Africa, Kariuki Ngari said.

“The launch of our partnership with Zain compliments our bank\’s philosophy of striving to meet customer needs and lifestyles by offering not only products and services but also delivery channels that are in line with current and anticipated future needs.”

On his part, Sridhar Srinivasan, Global Transaction Services Head, Sub-Saharan Africa, Citi, said: “This new Zap offering is another innovation which will extend the reach of financial services to every corner of this country and stimulate the payments system through accessible mobile technology.”

Zain is currently the third largest mobile network in the world in terms of geographic presence, with a commercial footprint in 24 countries spread across the Middle East and Africa and providing mobile voice and data services to over 69.5 million active customers as at June 30.

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