CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

9 June 2014

Kenya: Equity Bank, VFX Financial Launch Equity Direct Money Transfer Service From UK

Kenya's Equity Bank Group and UK's VFX Financial have partnered to launch the Equity Direct a real-time, cross border, multicurrency money transfer service from UK to Kenya. The service will enable individuals and corporates in the UK to send money to any account at Equity Bank in the region.

The service can be conveniently accessed online through the Equity Direct portal. The platform offers very competitive foreign exchange rates with a very affordable cost of money transfer.

Senders from the UK will enjoy the choice of sending money back to Kenya in major world currencies including EUR, GBP and USD. Equity Direct is an online money transfer service that has three main advantages, it is very affordable, it is convenient as one can send money anytime from the comfort of their homes or offices as long as they have online access, and thirdly, the delivery is real time. It will cost only 4GBP to send USD 10,000 from the UK to Kenya.

"We are delighted to deliver such a convenient and transparent low cost remittance solution which results in more money arriving to Kenya from the UK faster and easily" said Nick England, CEO, VFX. He further added; "The uptake of Equity Direct during the pilot phase has been very high. UK residents have been able to remit millions of shillings in the last three months of piloting. We therefore are positive this is what the market has been waiting for. A low cost remittance solution.

Mr. England further said that VFX has ensured that Equity Direct is flexible enough to allow low remittance of £10 and below. To open an Equity Direct account, register online. Only UK residents can register as remittance is from UK to KE and not vice versa.

Those who wish to send money to Kenya from the UK and don't have an Equity Bank account shall be facilitated to open the accounts by VFX in UK.

Transaction fees start at £1 with a maximum fee of £4, and there are no deductions or charges on arrival at the Equity Bank account. The costs and exchange rates are clearly displayed for customers to see prior to a transaction - providing a level of transparency rarely seen in Money Transfer.

"Equity Bank is a key player in facilitating remittance to Kenya. We want our customers in and out of the country to have the different options of remittance that is most convenient to them," said Dr. James Mwangi, Group CEO Equity Bank.

"Equity Direct is focusing on the UK market as UK is one of key remittance corridors for Kenya. Equity Group has invested heavily in creating infrastructure for diaspora remittances, and banking and transaction processing by connecting to all global payment systems as a result of installing a robust system that allows for the innovation of products and services that deliver convenience and affordability to our customers both locally and abroad. Currently, Equity Bank is controlling 16% of all Diaspora remittances and we are working towards scaling this up. We shall therefore continue to seek strategic partnerships that give our customers in the Diaspora choices in money transfer. We see Equity Direct as democratizing money remittance by enabling cheap and instant money transfer direct into the beneficiaries account," he added

Equity Direct connects through VFX's proprietary digital payment gateway, "MoBe HUB", which enables instant credits in customers' accounts in Equity Bank. VFX is also able to assist in the opening of Equity Bank diaspora accounts for non-resident Kenyans living overseas. The service will benefit residents of the UK importing goods from Kenya because they can now pay for their goods directly and instantly into an Equity Bank account of their suppliers. At the same time, family members living in the UK can send money home to their loved ones, or to their own bank accounts in Equity Bank instantly.

VFX is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (541092) in the UK to provide Foreign Exchange and regulated payment and remittance services in Europe. VFX is one of the largest non-bank providers of global currency and payment solutions. VFX is at the forefront of digital technology and cloud based solutions.

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