•This comes at a time that merchant payments platforms are projected to grow and take over the card payments in the country.
•The value of agent mobile money transactions as a percentage of GDP has increased from 23 per cent in 2010 to 70 per cent in the current environment.
Austria based firm Vienna Payment Solutions has joined the Kenyan market through a partnership with Interswitch East Africa, even as the growing popularity of mobile money continues to unleashed a new frontier for spirited competition in the space.
Following the partnership, the two companies introduced VIPASO, a payment solution comprised of two applications: a consumer app and a merchant app, aimed at enhancing payment solutions for banks, hospitality industry players, on-the-go services, financial institutions, and retailers.
This comes at a time that merchant payments platforms are projected to grow and take over the card payments in the country.
Kenya has been a regional powerhouse in digital payments, with 2023 Economic survey placing the value of mobile money transfers at Sh7.9 trillion.
According to the National Payments Strategy for 2022 to 2025 report by Central Bank, Kenyans spend an average of Sh21.7 billion using mobile money each day, an indication of the important role that mobile money has played in the country's economy.
VIPASO CEO Matthias Horvath, says that the entry into the Kenyan market has been necessitated by the push to safeguard consumers using the point of sale platforms.
“We started VIPASO with a goal to make POS (point of sale) payments simple, reliable, safe and universal. The partnership with Interswitch marks significant progress towards achieving this goal,” said Horvath.
The value of agent mobile money transactions as a percentage of GDP has increased from 23 per cent in 2010 to 70 per cent in the current environment.
This growth received a boost in August 2022 when merchant interoperability came into effect, allowing mobile money platforms from different operators to interact through seamless transactions.
Interswitch East Africa (Kenya) country general manager Romana Rajput says the new application will seamlessly operate between a smartphone/feature phone for consumers and merchant alike or between a mobile phone and an Android Point of Sale terminal.
It utilizes Bluetooth low energy connectivity and offers an alternative payment method for consumers in scenarios where traditional card or mobile phone payments are inconvenient or hindered by unreliable internet connectivity.
“As a strategic response to evolving challenges, this collaboration not only fortifies the security of financial transactions but also underscores Interswitch East Africa (Kenya) Limited’s commitment to fostering digitalization and financial inclusion in Kenya”, said Rajput.
Interswitch East Africa Head of Technology Naomi Wachira, says the solution marks a significant leap towards bridging gaps in the payment industry, setting a new standard for secure, convenient, and inclusive financial transactions in the East African region.
Despite the relatively higher cost of telcos’ mobile money platforms, the fight for dominance of the mobile payments market took twist after the CBK allowed Safaricom and Airtel to increase daily transaction limits on their mobile money platforms to Sh500,000.
This strengthened their capacity to compete with banks in the lucrative digital payments market.
Individuals and businesses are also allowed to hold Sh500,000 in telco wallets as mobile money evolves from person-to-person payments to an e-commerce tool. Users were previously allowed to hold up to Sh300,000.