Mobile banking is growing in Africa, helping millions of people to access banking for the first time. We are contributing to this growth through partnerships with strategic telecommunications providers, such as Airtel in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana and Nigeria. Working with our partners, we provide an electronic payment platform, or virtual wallet, that lets people use their phones to pay for goods and services or transfer money, whether or not they hold a bank account. This has lowered the cost of payments and helped more people to access financial services. We also offer a mobile banking platform that is used by many of our customers, across our markets, to access our banking services at a time and place to suit them.
Partnering with Airtel, a leading telecommunications company in Africa, we launched Zap, a mobile banking service, in 2009. Zap is a payment system that allows Airtel customers to deposit, transfer and withdraw money at their convenience through their Airtel handsets, at any place where mobile coverage exists. The service also includes cross-border money transfers and payment for goods and services. Zap, is used by over 20 million people and has increased access to finance in Africa, where only one in five has a bank account.
- In 2009, we launched Mobile banking in seven markets in Africa. Our mBanking product provides a number of services on a unique, user-friendly platform called USSD, which enables customers to access banking in real time, anywhere in the world, through their mobile phones. The platform is a convenient menu-driven application that is not dependent on specific customer handsets and does not need to be downloaded.
- Along with the Central Bank of Africa and CFC Stanbic, we hold deposits for MPesa (Swahili for mobile money) – an African success story that has changed regional business, by redefining the way Kenyans pay for goods and services. MPesa has 12 million customers, 2 million more than hold bank accounts in Kenya. Since its inception in 2007, MPesa has been used for transfers of USD10 billion.