YU launches yuCash Mobile Money in Kenya
In the news today, YU, Kenya’s fourth mobile network has (finally) launched its mobile money service, yuCash. The service is being powered by Obopay which is a well-established and global mobile money system. YU intends the service to be operational not just in Kenya but throughout Africa wherever it intends to establish operations.
In rolling out yuCash, YU is has partnered with Equity Bank to deliver services throughout its extensive branch network in Kenya, and presumably in Uganda where it also has a significant footprint. In Kenya alone, Equity Bank has over 4 million account holders making it the largest bank in this respect. It also means that YU could get many Equity Bank customers to sign-up for yuCash by default which could be a key factor for services uptake.
yuCash is now effectively Kenya’s third mobile money service after the wildly successful M-Pesa service from Safaricom and Zain’s Zap service. However, by using Obopay for yuCash’s back-end, YU has upped the ante since Obopay is NOT just a mobile money service. Using Obopay, its also possible to make Internet payments for goods and services with registered merchants and service providers who are part of the Obopay ecosystem. As a result, yuCash could (potentially) become a default e-commerce platform for Kenya and the broader African region.
However, what remains to be seen is how much traction yuCash will gain considering its coming to the mobile money game quite late with Safaricom’s M-Pesa having a dominant lead in the marketplace. Having been the first to launch and also having the largest number of users to-date. M-Pesa is very well entrenched in the psyche of users in Kenya as the de facto mobile money service. But, M-Pesa is yet to evolve into a more sophisticated and extensible mobile money system like Obopay which could become its Achilles heel.