Mr Nyasinga Onyancha, the CEO of SimbaPay. PHOTO | FILE
SimbaPay targets Kenyans in the diaspora with bulk cash transfers
Kenyans in the European Union can now send bulk cash home and buy property across the continent through SimbaPay’s mobile app that transfers up to Sh4.5 million.
The local digital money transfer firm SimbaPay has partnerships with KCB, Family Bank, M-Pesa and Co-op Bank. It is also useful to customers with MasterCard or VisaCard debit card or credit card.
To send money via SimbaPay, Kenyans living abroad with these bank accounts can download the SimbaPay app from the Apple AppStore or Google Play. They can then proceed to make cash transfers straight from any mobile phone, tablet or computer.
Victor Karanja, the head of operations at SimbaPay, says working with these lenders eliminates the need for customers having to remember branch codes.
“Customers in the past have been having to undertake multiple transfers to complete a single purchase,” said Mr Karanja.
The limit of transfers per transaction has now risen from the initial Sh300,000 that users could send earlier last year, as the firm launched its services locally. Users can now send a limit of Sh4.5 million via the platform.
“Our customers want to pay vendors in Kenya faster and without having to go through friends and family,” Nyasinga Onyancha, the chief executive of SimbaPay said during the launch last year.
“This new product allows them to do just that, especially for time-sensitive payments such as those to hospitals, stockbrokers and the like.”
Kenyans in the EU can now easily complete larger purchases in Africa such as property, vehicles and paying large hospital bills or university fees via the SimbaPay app.
Those transferring between Sh300,000 and higher automatically qualify for discounted exchange rates, says Simba Pay, adding the cash is credited instantly to the mobile money wallet, merchant or bank account.
Apart from direct transfers to mobile money services such as M-Pesa and bank accounts, it is also possible to pay school fees and utility companies, said Mr Karanja.
Exchange rate fluctuation
Bulk transfers across countries is a challenge to many service providers save for a few such as global brands like MoneyGram and Western Union.
East African countries, for instance, are grappling with technical hitches barring smooth transactions. One of the difficulties is the huge taxes of up to Sh40,000 across mobile money in East African Community.
This is because switch systems operating across M-Pesa, Airtel Money and Telkom Kenya to other regional networks like MTN, Tigo, Uganda Telecom and Africell are not in place.
The Central Bank lists exchange rate fluctuations as a disadvantage when making bulk transfers. “A key risk with multiple transfers was exchange rate fluctuation.
Sending up to Sh4.5 million with just our mobile app will protect senders from the fluctuation that arises when one splits up the transfer.”
According to a 2015 survey by the African Institute for Remittances (AIR), it costs 12 per cent of the basic amount being sent into Kenya. Other countries on the continent also suffer the same fate while within the EU, it is less than five per cent.
“This means that if you send Sh10,000 from Europe to Africa, the remittance service provider will on average charge a fee of Sh1,200,” the report states. According to CBK, Kenyans abroad sent home Sh12 billion more in 2015, increasing to Sh156 billion.
According to Kenya Diaspora Association chairman, Shem Ochuodho, fairer rate will benefit both Kenya and countries from which the remittances are made.
“Majority of us are looking at safe ways of investing back home without having to use individuals as our go-between for banking,” said Mr Ochuodho.