•The company with established operations in the UAE has invested in modern technology, providing automated insured safety deposit boxes.
•The boxes are ultra-secure as they use advanced robotics and personal biometrics within a secure privacy pod to ensure that only the customer can have access to the box.
Dubai-based company, MySafe Global Vaults, has established a subsidiary in Kenya to enter the country's safe deposit box business space.
There is surging demand for off-site safekeeping of valuables in Kenya and East Africa, a service that has for decades been dominated by banks.
Banks are moving towards online banking as they reduce physical branch activities and some are stopping the deposit box business. Banks still offering safe deposit boxes have been forced to place potential clients on a waiting list.
MySafe Kenya has set up a shop at Sarit Centre, Nairobi, to provide automated insured safety deposit boxes.
The boxes are ultra-secure as they use advanced robotics and personal biometrics within a secure privacy pod to ensure that only the customer can access the box.
The boxes can also be insured with Lloyds of London for up to Sh25 million per box, something which is not possible with commercial banks.
“Lloyds are willing to provide the insurance because of the extremely high security standards of the MySafe boxes that are contained in an armoured unit that has a far higher security rating than an ATM,” Terry Downes, CEO of MySafe Global Vaults in Dubai, told the Star in an interview this week.
MySafe Global Vaults has hundreds of customers in Dubai renting automated safety deposit boxes from three outlets in Platinum Tower (the heart of gold trade), Kempinski Palm Jumeirah, and the Airport Free Zone.
It started its operations in Kenya this week, with a plan to expand to more sites in Nairobi, other major towns and the region.
The firm believes it is revolutionising the safe deposit box industry through full automation and insurance.
To access a MySafe box, clients swipe their registered card to access a privacy pod; then enter a four-digit pin; then present their finger for biometric vein pattern recognition; and finally, after the advanced safe robotics delivers the box, clients use their key to access their box.
“Our target is making the service conveniently available to anyone, not just the rich with gold and diamonds but everybody with something of value they want to keep safe,” Downes.
The company launched in 2017 in the UAE where it operates 24/7 all year around. Unlike a bank, clients can access their boxes any time between 8am and 8pm, without appointment, on every day including public holidays.
MySafe offering three sizes of deposit boxes on a rental basis, ranging between three months, six months and one year, costing between Sh22,500 and 55,000 quarterly.
The first private safe deposit box service was advertised in the New York Times on May 1, 1865, when they offered five hundred iron safe boxes each having its own lock.
Today, the safety deposit box is ubiquitous around the world.
In Sweden, there is one safe deposit box for every three people, one in five French citizens rent a safe deposit box while in the US, there are 25 million active safe deposit boxes.
Deposit boxes allow clients to store jewels, precious metal, art or any other personal valuables in a private and highly secure vault system.
Last year, the Central Bank of Kenya wrote to banks instructing them to have their customers disclose the contents stored in their boxes by December 31.
Central bank regulations do not apply to the private safe deposit box sector.
“As a good corporate citizen, MySafe does not allow any criminal activity and clients forfeit their right to privacy if there is any evidence of criminality,” Downes said.
The Sarit Centre store is the company's first facility in Africa, with a capacity to serve up to 450 clients.
“We are currently working on a second site in Nairobi and there will be many more in East Africa and beyond,” said Downes.
Karen and Village Market are some of the potential areas the company could be headed to in its expansion plans.