NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 8 – Telkom Kenya has launched a mobile money transfer service dubbed Orange Money, in partnership with Equity Bank.
The launch makes Orange the fourth mobile phone operator to launch a money transfer service and is set to intensify competition in the industry as operators move to data in the wake of declining voice revenues.
The partnership between Orange and Equity Bank is geared towards creating synergies between the two that enhances money transfer as well as mobile banking.
Telkom Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mickael Ghossein said the service’s launch delayed from the initial date of June as they awaited the necessary approvals.
“I can confirm to you that Kenya will be a platform for how mobile money transfer and money transfer should work,” Mr Ghossein said.
Speaking during the launch, Equity Bank Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi said the new service was the most dynamic in the market as it created a seamless interface between the phone and ones account.
“What we are saying is all the barriers of money transfer and financial inclusion are today being broken to demystify access to finances in the country,” Mr Mwangi said.
Orange Money, which took a year to develop, is mapped onto the customer’s bank account making it possible for one to transfer money from his account to any other bank account
The service will also allow customers to send money to any mobile network in the country.
Unlike other money transfer services in the market capped at Sh35,000 per transaction, Orange Money is limitless allowing one to send as much as they want.
Mr Ghossein however said that it had initially been pegged at Sh100,000 until the system picks up in the market.
Safaricom revolutionised mobile money transfer when it introduced M-Pesa in 2007. Latest statistics from the operator indicate that it hs so far registered 11.8 million customers and transferred a whopping Sh523.8 billion.
Also speaking at the launch Central Bank Governor Prof Njuguna Ndungu said mobile money transfer was transacting close to $30 million (Sh2 billion) a day.
He hailed the intoriduction of such services saying it would enhance access to financial services by reducing associated costs. Orange Money has been made user friendly by linking it to ones phonebook to enhance the level of security.
Through the service, one can secure loans from the phone, pay utility bills as well as bank to bank transfers.
The two partners intend to build a joint distribution network with over 20,000 agents by the end of the first year.
The service is expected to be rolled out in Uganda in the next two weeks, where both orange and Equity bank have presence. Orange Money is already present in Ivory Coast, Senegal Mali, Niger and Madagascar.