CBK gives green light to mobile money interoperability

By Fred Odhiambo

In Summary

  • Kenya now joins 15 other countries across the world that have successfully implemented the wallet-to-wallet interoperability with users seamlessly moving mobile money
  • Customers wishing to transfer money across network s shall avoid the cost and inconvenience of having to reload or withdraw money through network agents
  • The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has welcomed the implementation of interoperability of      mobile phone financial services
  • Interoperability will play an important role in enhancing the usage of mobile money services, thereby deepening financial access
  • The price for transferring money out of the network will be no higher than that of transferring money within the network
  • Mobile money operators will ensure that the interfaces between them are as secure as possible and that transactions will be reflected in customers mobile wallets without undue

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has welcomed the implementation of interoperability of       mobile phone financial services. Beginning April 10, 20 18, Customers will be able to transfer funds across networks in real time, at low cost, and in a secure environment.

Kenya now joins 15 other countries across the world that have successfully implemented the wallet-to-wallet interoperability with users seamlessly moving mobile money across the three main platforms; Safaricom’s M-Pesa, Airtel Money and Telkom Kenya’s recently launched T-Kash.

Previously, a customer would receive an SMS from another network notifying them of money that had been sent. They would have to withdraw that money from the sender’s network and then deposit the same into their own wallet. If the recipient did not withdraw the funds within seven days, the money would be sent back to the sender.

The benefits of “wallet-to-wallet” interoperability to customers will be immediate and significant. Customers wishing to transfer money across network s shall avoid the cost and inconvenience of having to reload or withdraw money through network agents.

Customers ‘ mobile wallets will reflect funds immediately these are received,

regard less of the network from which these funds are sent.  Customers will also be able to withdraw the money in their wa llets from the agents on their network, as is currently.

Approving this milestone, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) laid out three crucial principles for interoperability: That the price for transferring money out of the network will be no higher than that of transferring money within the network, there will also be no interchange fees.

Further, mobile money operators will ensure that the interfaces between them are as secure as possible and that transactions will be reflected in customers mobile wallets without undue delay.

Interoperabi lity is another significant milestone for Kenya ‘s mobile money transfer. It will play an important role in enhancing the usage of mobile money services, thereby deepening financial access. CBK has licensed three Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) under the National Payment System (NPS) Act.

Mobile money subscriber accounts have grown to 37.8 million in 2018. Mobile money transactions in January 2018 were valued at Ksh.323 .0 bi llion in l .4 billion transactions.

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