Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) has unveiled the PesaLink brand and kicked-off a phased rollout of the digital payments platform that is expected to cut the cost of transactions and transform the way consumers interact with their banks.
PesaLink will for the first time enable customers to make payments between banks in real-time, around the clock, without having to go through intermediaries. This revolutionary peer-to-peer (P2P) product is offered by Integrated Payment Services Limited (IPSL), a fully-owned subsidiary of KBA formed to implement the platform upon which this and other digital innovations will run.
KBA received support from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) on February 8 to initiate the roll-out of PesaLink to banks and their customers. The phased implementation will begin with the banks that have completed the pilot exercise and have received product approvals.
They include Standard Chartered Bank, Co-Operative Bank, Barclays Bank, Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), I & M Bank, Diamond Trust Bank, Gulf African Bank, Guardian Bank, Victoria Commercial Bank, Credit Bank, Prime Bank and Middle East Bank.
As the first set of banks roll out the product to their customers, the rest of the banks are in various stages of testing the system.
Through KBA, banks have invested to develop PesaLink, which signals the banks’ view of the role they see digital and mobile technology playing in the national payment system. The product has been in the making since 2013, whem KBA member banks decided to invest in an industrywide switch, which is an integrated information sharing network.
“What PesaLink demonstrates is that KBA and the member banks are aware of their duty to serve customers, innovate and create value for our economy,” said KBA Vice Chairman John Gachora, who also serves as the banks’ representative on the IPSL board of directors.
“PesaLink is proof that the banking industry has embraced the technology revolution sweeping across the payments industry. It is through such innovations that Kenya earns its title as a global leader in fintech innovation,” added Gachora.
On his part, KBA Chief Executive Officer, Habil Olaka said PesaLink has been developed as a complementary tool to existing bank products, including mobile money transfer and related wallets. PesaLink, he added, has been designed using world-class technology necessitating the integration of a robust network security assurance and failover system to ensure service availability.
“The investment by KBA in this product is focused on delivering an advanced solution that can handle bank customer transactions around the clock,” said Olaka. “The system will enable users to transact as low as Sh10 to as much as Sh999, 999 across the banking system. In effect, it will facilitate both large transactions, as well as such micro-payments that millions of Kenyan settle in cash every day, including paying for groceries at the market, a haircut or bus fare,” he said.
Commenting on the progress made leading to the brand unveil, IPSL Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Theuri said that crucial milestones had been achieved in operationalizing the system and securing support from Central Bank to commence the customer registration process.
“We are thankful for the support we have received from our regulator throughout this process,” said Ms Theuri. “We are confident that we are creating value for the banking industry as PesaLink will provide a safe, secure and cost efficient platform for P2P money transfer.
These transfers will be initiated from the main bank channels, namely Mobile banking, Internet banking, ATM, Branch, and Agency Banking,” she said, adding that the industry-sponsored platform will complement KBA’s existing clearing house services.
Founded under the Central Bank of Kenya’s National Payments System (NPS) guidelines, the platform has been developed to provide interoperability and related fintech solutions for banks.
IPSL will also inform policy direction and manage the risks associated with payment systems in the market, while providing technical and related guidance to KBA member banks