Adding sexy to saving

By M&M Team

Kenyans struggling with poor saving culture now have an answer in mKey, the app launched at the beginning of September 2018 by Finserve, a subsidiary of Equity Group Holdings. Much of the media focus on the app’s capabilities in the past few weeks has been on its lending capabilities. Understandably, the focus on the lending side has been influenced by the evaporation of personal unsecured loans from the banks.

But the app’s most valuable contribution to users lifestyles is improvement to saving culture.

How it works

In any given saving tool, the biggest determinant on the uptake is the reward system in place. For banks, insurance and microfinance, the reward is in terms of interest.

In the case of mKey, the app rewards users with points that can be redeemed for any amount of money they load into their digital wallets.

Finserve Managing Director Jack Ngare says the firm is investing heavily on the reward scheme.

“For any shilling we make in a transaction, 50 cents will go back to our users through the reward scheme, says Ngare.

The reward scheme is computed into points that add up to stars. The more stars users get, the bigger the reward they will get.

For example, if you load your wallet with Sh300, you will get 0.25 points and you are already on your journey to get your first reward of Sh50 airtime on any network.

mKey VS bank account

Let’s now compare the Sh50 airtime with the reward you get for saving in a saving account in a bank.

It is important to note that a user can hit one star with just a few transactions. In other words, if one is consistent they can easily move from airtime rewards to shopping vouchers in a few days.

At the current deposit rate of 6 percent in banks, a Sh1000 deposit will earn you Sh60 in a year. That is about Sh5 per month.

In other words, even though the lowest reward from mKey app may look small, it is a big deal when it’s compared to rewards from bank accounts.


Another determining factor on how users take up a saving tool is how accessible.

The fact that the app is available for Android phones means that it is already accessible to the 40 million smartphones in Kenya. But the app breaks even more access barriers in the deposit channels.

For mKey users, there are three ways that users can load money into their digital wallets- making it the most accessible saving tool in Kenya.

The first channel is the direct channel which involves users making cash deposit to their digital wallets at any of the 30,000 Equity Bank agents spread across the country.

Secondly, users can also pull money from their mobile money transfer accounts such as MPESA or Equitel and push it into the mKey digital wallets.

The third way to load an account is to pull money from bank accounts to mKey through internet banking.


Another crucial determinant for people’s attraction to saving plans is how one redeems rewards.

For mKey, the rewards can be redeemed immediately. For example, if a user has achieved five stars in his reward scheme for deposit transactions, they redeem the rewards at any time of the month or any time of the day.

In banks, all deposit accounts are locked for a period of not less than a month. During this period, the user is only allowed only one withdrawal, irrespective of whether they are chipping away the principle or just skimming the interest.

Big wallet

The capacity to hold bigger amount of money in mKey digital wallet means users can actually use the app as their bank if they do not have an account in a bank.

In other words, users do not have to transfer money from the app to bank accounts before they have accumulated a sizeable value of savings.

This means that users can actually for bigger goals such as setting up a small business.

What next?

As a news site we will be keep watch the app and how people are using it.

However, only downloading and using it is the only way that users can experience the app’s life changing capacity.

This article was changed on October 1, 2018.

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