A new mobile banking product, targeting rural areas, has been launched in Kenya.
Kenya’s largest mobile operator, Safaricom, and fastest growing bank, Equity Bank, have unveiled M-Kesho, a mobile banking product targeting rural areas.
M-Kesho will allow M-Pesa (Safaricom’s mobile money transfer service) account holders to deposit money, withdraw cash and access loans.
“If all M-Pesa customers are banked as is envisaged with the M-Kesho product, Kenya will be the most banked country in Africa and in the developing world,” said Mr James Mwangi, Equity Bank chief executive.
The product will transform M-Pesa accounts into bank accounts, enabling M-Pesa customers to open savings accounts where they will be able to transfer as little as Ksh.100 (US$1.3) at no cost.
Speaking during the launch in Nairobi, President Mwai Kibaki said M-Kesho is a landmark product that will integrate the telecommunications and banking sectors and would improve access to cost effective financial services.
Other than deposits and withdrawals, M-Kesho customers will also be able to access micro-credit and micro-insurance products, and earn interest on their money.