Published On: Wed, Oct 16th, 2013

KCB launches M-Benki for the unbanked Kenyans

kcbKenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Group has partnered with Safaricom’s M-Pesa to launch a mobile banking app that will allow the unbanked population in Kenya and other East African countries open accounts without visiting a bank.

Dubbed KCB M-Benki, the mobile app will allow customers open a bank account with their mobile phone via the KCB Mobi platform with as little as Ksh1 ($0.01).

The service which debuted in Kenya this week will be launched in other KCB operational countries in the near future. KCB Group, which is Kenya’s largest bank in terms of assets, also has operations in virtually all East African nations.

Opening an account on the M-Banki platform will allow customers to make withdrawals, deposits, pay for goods and services as well as transfer funds within the bank and to other banks. It will also benefit the SMEs, and reduce time spent on banking activities.

To open an account, Safaricom subscribers will key in their ID number through an M-Pesa pay bill account.

The M-benki account will charge a fee between Sh20 ($0.23) and Sh175 ($2) for withdrawing between Sh100 ($1.2) and Sh50, 000 ($588) from the bank to their M-Pesa account.

Through the platform, KCB hopes to bring a larger population into formal banking and catch up with Equity Bank which it says has more than 8 million account holders.

According to KCB Group Chief Executive Officer, Joshua Oigara: “The growth of mobile banking is a natural step towards providing an opportunity to reach mass markets efficiently and fully support financial inclusion…It is a powerful way to deliver savings services to billions of people who have cell phones but no bank accounts.”

Oigara said the bank “look[s] forward to enlisting an additional 3 million customers in the next 12 months.”

A study by the Central Bank of Kenya shows that there are 29.8 million mobile users in Kenya and majority of them use mobile banking as a means of transactions.

However, a recent survey by audit and advisory firm KPMG reveals that although financial service providers have a chance to reach the unbanked through mobile devices, this population has not received enough education to enable them effectively use the platforms.


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KCB launches M-Benki for the unbanked Kenyans
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