The Kenya Bankers Association is reportedly working on an interbank mobile money platform aimed at cutting out Safaricom’s M-PESA dominance.
According to the report by James Mbugua’s Nairobi Tech, the Association is working with external consultants on an interbank mobile money platform that will see users transfer money directly between banks than going though M-PESA. The report adds that the interbank mobile money system will help users connect and transfer money from one bank to an account in another. The banks aim to make the transfers as affordable as possible for the November planned platform. different bank at much cheaper rates than currently in the market is set for launch in November.
For one, this platform might never the light of the day due to bank’s personal interests. We are not sure which banks areinvoved in this development but we know theCBA will not want to seeMPesa revenues go down as the service’s holding bank.CBA also hostsMShwari which has reported a number of great milestones already.Apart fromCBA, KCB Group also has various partnerships withMPesa including itsMsafiri card,KCBMPesa account among others. The KCBMpesa has recorded over 1.5m customers in just a few weeks of its launch.
Equity Bank is working on its own Equitel service which aims to serve its mobile money customers. Equitel aims to see money from Equity Bank just move fluidly in its own system and not toMPesa. The firm would be stupid to open its platform to another interbank thing with all the investments it has made. The banks are also getting it wrong. Most customers never even user ATM cards across banks even if they are all VISA orMastercard debit/ credit cards due to charges. Most users would rather find their own bank ATM to just walk into any VISA orMastercard ATM point.
On MPesa the bulk of users are peer-to-peer and not across banks. After banking hours users only access their money to their MPesa accounts to pay for their bills via Lipa na MPesa while merchants deposit the money into their bank accounts directly and need not an interbank service.
Instead of launching a ridiculous interbank mobile money system banks would better work on making their services accessible in whichever format out their in the world and diversify their trade than just looking the MPesa’s 20m customers and 13.9m 30 day active MPesa customers. MPesa contributed 20% of Safaricom’s total revenue due to a 14% increase in 30 day active MPesa customers to 13.9m as well as an increase in the average number of transactions per customer. Safaricom also increased its MPesa agent outlets to 85,756 thereby promoting accessability of the service to our customers.We are not sure how many banks have this number of agents.
Another growth story for MPesa is its Lipa na MPesa service which users can cashlessless pay merchants on the go. In March 2015, Safaricom says Lipa na MPesa had 49,413 merchants active on a 30 day basis, who received Kshs 11.6bn of payments. Lipa na MPesa is also set to accelerate the inroads.
As banks sleep, Safaricom is soon launching an MPesa Mastercard-powered debit card for both online and offline payments and MPesa’s 20m customers will find it efficient to pay for stuff at the till and online with one swipe. No one is interested in moving money from one bank to another via mobile phones. Mobile is for those on-the-go and for the few merchants who want to transfer money from their mobile phones, they wouldn’t need an Elma-inspired interbank platform to do so.