Airtel has today partnered with afb, a consumer finance company dealing in loans, credit cards and data phones.
afb launched operations in Kenya in October 2012 and offers affordable and instant credit to low and middle income segments of the market. Unlike banks that offer credit based on the borrowers account relationship status with the bank, afb lends based on the credit record of the borrower.
The company headquartered in Mauritius will be seeking to leverage on the strong countrywide market footprint of Airtel to grow its market in Kenya even as it plans to roll out operations in the regional countries of Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda.
“We are confident that this service will enable Airtel subscriber’s access affordable and instant credit to purchase merchandise and comfortably pay for the same over a period of up to six months. This partnership will give customers financial freedom and flexibility, allowing them to “shop now, and pay later,” said afb Managing Director for Mobile, Johan Bosini during the launch event held in Nairobi.
Airtel Kenya Managing Director Shivan Bhargava said the partnership is timely and significant to the company’s customers as it will diversify product offering and differentiation thus ensuring that the subscribers get added value from the company.
“As a company, we are committed to entering strategic partnerships that meet the ever changing needs of our subscribers. We are keen on being part of the everyday life of our very esteemed customers. This partnership will allow Airtel customers to easily access meaningful financial services from afb through convenient channels,” said Bhargava.
Apart from Kenya, afb is currently present in Mauritius, Ghana and South Africa with plans to launch in Zambia later this year.
Airtel Money is fast becoming the preferred way of sending and receiving money across the country and is also now widely used for paying utility bills such as electricity, water and DStv. The process is fully automated and reflects in real time providing customers with a faster and more secure mode of carrying out transactions.
Airtel ventured into the local mobile commerce business two years ago and also provides e-commerce solutions including online payments, online banking, utility bill payments for electricity, DSTV, and water. Airtel Money currently has a vast dealer network of more than 9,500 agents which include banks, bank agents, supermarket chains and Posta outlets.
This service is similar to Safaricom’s M-Shwari, a mobile phone credit service launched by Safaricom and CBA. M-Shwari also allows users to access loans and pay them after sometime. Airtel’s new service will give its subscribers what Safaricom has given to its for a few months.