Equity Bank unveils its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) strategy and rollout plan that is set to launch in July 20

Article in summary Equity bank (Kenya) partners telecom company Mobile banking to be taken a notch higher. Equity bank customers to have their bank

Article in summary

  • Equity bank (Kenya) partners telecom company
  • Mobile banking to be taken a notch higher. Equity bank customers to have their bank accounts linked to their mobile phones to deposit or withdraw money and transact
  • Service will enable international money transfer
  • Equity says “the first of its kind.” However, product already exists with Tropical Bank, Uganda
  • Technology can easily be adopted, requires infrastructure, marketing and hardened security to succeed

Innovation to have more impact than mobile money, as it solves all MoMo challenges, and more (says Equity bank).

The MVNO links Equity Bank customer account to the mobile phone as such customers can apply for loans, move money into and from their bank accounts and pay bills.  In addition, through Equity banks’ multi-channel connectivity, customers will be able to carry out cross border transactions from their mobile phones. They will receive international remittances onto their accounts and access through their mobile phone numbers, Equity Agents, ATMs or branches.

The Bank has described the MVNO as the ‘next big thing’ and the service is the first for Kenya and a first for Africa.

The Equity MVNO accords Equity Bank the opportunity to continue its mission of furthering financial inclusion and innovative service offerings for all Kenyans by presenting their financial services offering on to a single platform which will make banking services  more accessible, flexible convenient and more affordable.  Alongside this investment, Equity has also developed important partnerships that will not only enable the process, but also help to drive costs down.

The strategic partnership with Airtel will support Equity’s delivery of MVNO services without the capital investment required by traditional mobile operators. These lower costs will be passed onto Equity Bank members via innovative, affordable, next generation products and services.  “New skills combined with new systems and cutting edge innovation will yield immense benefits that we will pass to our members,” says Dr. James Mwangi, CEO of Equity Bank Group.

As the host and partner operator for Equity Bank, Airtel said it is delighted to be the mobile operator that is pioneering this innovation in the Kenyan Telecoms Industry. The company stated that the MVNO services will run on the excess capacity on its network, ensuring that it maintains seamless quality experience to its consumers.

“The launch of MVNOs is in line with Airtel Kenya’s innovation and differentiation agenda. We believe that the entry of the MVNOs into the market will stimulate and sustain overall market growth through a new range of innovative products and service propositions that will give more choice and value to Kenyans. Additionally, their entry into the market will increase the uptake of mobile services in key segments such as mobile commerce and data thereby accelerating the inclusion of all Kenyans into the mobile revolution for sustained economic development of the country”,  Said Airtel Kenya CEO Adil Youssefi

A 300 seat customer contact center fully integrated with voice and social media is now operational 24 hours 7 days a week and staff have undergone intense training on effective customer service and experience.

To further enhance the speed and cope with anticipated increase in volume of transactions from the MVNO, the Bank’s recently implemented Oracle Super cluster is now fully activated and operational. The system is capable of supporting more than one million transactions per second concurrently from cards and mobile transactions and core banking transactions. The system is now fully enabled for enhanced payment processing and expanded acquisition strategies including mobile transactions.

The recently rolled out integrated and robust IT platform and Tier 4 data center will provide a comprehensive business functionality, immense transactional power and capability, high availability and reliability and supports enhanced customer experience.

With the new MVNO service, Equity bank will provide the most secure banking platform delivered via the mobile phone.

Mobile transfers will be charged at 1% of the transaction value compared to the prevailing market charges of 16%. The charges will be capped at Ksh 25 per transaction.  Additionally, instant loans will be available at a maximum of 2% per month compared to the 7.5% per month offered in the market.

Experts take

This is a good development in the industry. As the use of mobile phones becomes the future of business, we are going to see more innovations in the area. Already, MTN’s mobile money offers almost similar solutions.

The product is similar to that of Tropical Bank in Uganda, were customers can transact on their bank accounts via their mobile phones.

As bank’s try to innovate, it is important to be mindful of the security of customers due to increased interconnections. Of course, no one publishes the increasing cases of mobile security and cyber crime.

Source: Summit Business magazine on-line

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