Visa’s launched their mobile payments solution, mVisa, in Kenya and so far, they’ve partnered with four banks – Co-Operative Bank, Family Bank, KCB, and NIC Bank.
BUT WHO ARE THEY COMPETING WITH? Let’s take a look at M-Pesa
M-Pesa (M for mobile, pesa is Swahili for money) is a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service, launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom, the largest mobile network operators in Kenya and Tanzania. It is since expanded to Afghanistan, South Africa, India and in 2014 to Romania and in 2015 to Albania. M-Pesa allows users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services (Lipa na M-Pesa) easily with a mobile device. The service allows users to deposit money into an account stored on their cell phones, to send balances using PIN-secured SMS text messages to other users, including sellers of goods and services, and to redeem deposits for regular money. Users are charged a small fee for sending and withdrawing money using the service. M-Pesa is a branchless banking service; M-Pesa customers can deposit and withdraw money from a network of agents that includes airtime resellers and retail outlets acting as banking agents.
I THINK THAT’S ENOUGH FOR M-PESA, LET’S LOOK AT THE REAL DEAL, mVISA..
mVisa is a service that allows users receive and make payments on their smartphones either by using merchants’ phone numbers or scanning QR codes. It launched in India last year and Kenya’s the first African country to have the service. Kenya has one of the largest mobile money penetration rates in Africa and it makes sense for Visa to tap into this market.
According to Andrew Torre, Group Country Manager for Visa in Sub-Sahara Africa, “It is an exciting time as we work with our Kenyan partners to bring a new mobile payment solution to accelerate commerce. Kenyans already understand the benefits of mobile payments, and mVisa offers them a better way to pay and be paid, with a service which is not limited by the mobile network they have or the handset they use. The service also brings the advantages of Visa’s global network – security, reliability and global acceptance – and allows consumers to make payments both domestically and internationally.”
M-pesa’s popularity is owed to the fact that it isn’t very restrictive. With approximately 16.6 million active users, M-Pesa processed transactions worth over KES5.29 trillion($52.6 billion) last year. One thing mVisa has over M-Pesa though, is that it’s not bound by a mobile network service. This is one thing that has hindered M-Pesa’s growth in other African countries. mVisa plans to launch in four more African countries – Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda – by the end of the year.
It pains me to see M-Pesa’s market threatened by mVisa but what can we do than to watch the struggle for the survival of the fittest.