UBA (UBA Kenya) bank in partnership with Airtel Kenya have launched a mobile banking product, Akiba Mkononi, which aims to encourage low income earners to save money.
Akiba Mkononi allows subscribers to open and manage accounts from a mobile phone and earn interest. The interest rate will be two percentage points off the prevailing Treasury Bill rate. The current Treasury Bill rate is 9 percent, meaning the savings will earn 7 percent, computed quarterly
“If a person subscribes to Akiba Mkononi, they start to make money because the interest rate is priced off the returns on Treasury Bills,” said UBA Kenya chief executive Tunji Adeniyi.
The minimum an individual can hold in the account is Ksh100 with daily deposits ranging between Ksh50 to Ksh140,000.
One can also service insurance premium payments through the account which can be accessed from 98 Post Bank branches in Kenya as well as UBA Bank counters.
The service is more like Safaricom’s MShwari only that with Akiba Mkononi one cannot borrow money.
UBA Kenya board chairman Ngugi Kiuna said:“Financial inclusion does not only mean access to credit. We need to provide platforms that our customers can use to build savings and earn money from them instead of borrowing loans.”
However, the bank hinted at creating a borrowing functionality once Akiba Mkononi is integrated to other products like the prepaid card.
UBA is also seeking to take the product to 18 African countries where the partners have a presence and is looking to partner with other mobile service providers.