Telecommunications giant, Zain has upgraded its mobile banking service, Zap to enable customers to receive money from any bank account around the world and send money to any bank in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Dr. Saad Al Barrak, Zain group's chief executive officer, said the enhancement of Zap is another world first from Zain. “It means that our customers in remote towns and villages as well as those in the cities can receive money from wherever in the world their business colleagues or family and friends are. Ability to send money from the mobile phone to any bank account in East Africa will enable businesses to perform more efficiently."
The service has been used by more than 5 million people since it was launched. Zain customers can sign-up for free for the new Zap services by completing an application form and handing it over to registered Zain agents in tens of thousands of villages, towns and cities across East Africa. Zain will then provide the customer with a mobile wallet, which will allow them to use their mobile phone in much the same way as a bank account debit card and manage their money through their handset.
Zain and its international and regional banking partners are confident that Zap will increase access to banking services in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, where formal banking services are largely restricted to urban populations. Eighty per cent of Kenya's and ninety-five per cent of Tanzania's and Uganda's populations do not have access to banking services.
Currently over US$10 million worth of airtime transfers take place in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda each month.
Kariuki Ngari, Standard Chartered Bank's head of Consumer Banking, East Africa, said, the service will enable families and businesses to access funds from around the world very swiftly and very securely. “It has the potential to transform banking in Africa and will help overcome many of the obstacles presented by providing banking services to remote and rural communities who are now able to access global funds swiftly."