I am following a couple of threads on some Kenyan mailing lists and apparently Zain Kenya may just have upped the ante with regards to International mobile money transfers on its Zap service. The news I’m picking up is that Zap users in Kenya can now receive International money transfers directly on their mobile phones. The interesting bit is that the sender of the funds does this directly from their bank account to the Zap user who is subscribed to the service. This new Zap offering from Zain Kenya is bound to shake up the multi-billion shilling International remittances business which has been largely dominated by Western Union for the better part of a decade. However, Safaricom, the market leader for mobile money transfers in Kenya through its M-PESA offering will probably respond aggressively to this initiative, using its sheer brawn of 14+ million mobile subscribers.
In other interesting news over the last week or so, both NIC Bank and KCB have launched their own mobile banking services. This is in no way massively innovative sinceÂ Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, and many other Banks have also launched mobile banking offerings in past 6 months or so. However, one of the unique features that both KCB’s KCB Connect and NIC Bank’s Mobile Banking services have is the ability to draw funds from your account and deposit them into your Safaricom M-Pesa account. This will undoubtedly create an interesting customer value proposition that realizes convenience, efficiency and effectiveness for them. It also means that rather than seeing M-Pesa as threat, KCB and NIC Bank are using it as a way of generating additional transactions with their customers, leading to more billings.