Kenya's Equity Bank and Safaricom have launched a bank account that lets customers transfer money to and from accounts of the mobile operator's money transfer service M-Pesa via their mobile handsets as well as enjoy other benefits that come with a bank account. The new service will target customers who are looking for the convenience of a bank account that uses M-Pesa as the tool to deposit money into their accounts. Customers will not have to go to the bank to check their account balances. The mobile system will allow the customer to check their last five transactions on their linked account.
With the M-Kesho Account, customers will be able to get pre-qualified personal accident insurance, access to short-term loan facilities ranging from KES 100, and interest on the mobile account from as little as KES 1.
The application is built with the ability to score a customer's credit rating using a six-month history of his M-Pesa balances. The customer can request the facility through his phone, and the bank will respond if approved by loading the money into his M-Kesho Account. Customers will also be able to apply for short-term credit from their handsets.
The partners intend to carry out media promotions on these services to educate customers on how to register for the M-Pesa Equity Bank Account. M-Pesa agents will be encouraged to offer these services in their outlets to further supplement their commissions. The product is currently available in four agent locations with plans to roll out to over 5,000 in the next few months. The account targets the over 4.5 million Equity Bank and over 9.5 million M-Pesa customers looking to link the two services.
The two firms have previously offered all registered M-Pesa customers the ability to withdraw M-Pesa from the over 550 Equity Bank ATMs.