CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

21 January 2013

Kenya: Mobile Payment Systems Growing

Mobile payment systems in Kenya are growing fast. The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) has recorded 6.7% growth total money deposits in the 1st quarter (2012/13) from 192 billion recorded in the previous period to 205 billion deposits. But the road to have a consortium among operators for one common money transfer platform will be slow for some time, says Mr. Madhur Taneja, yuMobile's Country Manager.

Having one mobile money transfer platform might not be an overnight success; Taneja attributes this to different system architectures among various mobile operators in Kenya, of which they may require a whole overhaul of their systems to accommodate the same platform.

"We would like to but still it is a long short considering its technical feasibility aspect involved, however every operator understands they have to come together for it to work considering the challenges they face", says Taneja.

This doesn't mean operators won't achieve their individual objectives. A common platform will definitely continue to give more traction and obtain the full potential telecommunication operators may need to pull resources and become a significant force in the market place. Taneja says a common system will make a huge difference in mobile money transaction volumes.

Bringing these resources together means getting similar innovative user interfaces, different features and technicalities in place which will ensure the money move seamlessly across different platforms. "But, today, I think some things are not there despite having an alignment in operator's minds to establish this capacity", says Taneja.

A common payment platform is a good idea though no one is committed to put it into action. It might be great to talk about it but operators need to take action for a great value preposition to the customers.

If it works well, the telecom operator's industry consortium for a common payment platform will be similar to mobile phone manufacturers who voice their support for a common apps community. "It will be great if mobile operators in Kenya will have a piece of this pie", upholds Taneja.

Taneja spoke to CIO East Africa during the official launch of a new campaign as part of the firm's brand strategy to further intensify its market reach, particularly to the youth and youthful consumer.

The brand campaign gives an edgier look to the brand, and is unveiled at the same time with not only a 25% bonus on airtime top-ups, but also an exciting SMS bundle, which will see subscribers enjoy sending free SMS's across networks. This is all over and above subscribers being able to make free yu to yu calls.

All yuCash subscribers now have greater incentive to use the service more, as they can now earn a 50% bonus on all yuCash top-ups and at the same time, Taneja revealed that now with yuCash, there are zero fees for sending money across any networks.

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