London-based digital money transfer firm SimbaPay, which was founded by a Kenyan duo, has launched an artificial intelligence powered chatbot service that enables international money remittance through short message service (SMS).
The new chatbot service, launched jointly with Lagos-based payments processor Interswitch, is run by a computer program designed to simulate conversation with users, enabling instant service to customers in Africa and throughout Europe. The SMS-bot service does not require internet connectivity.
It is targeting money transfer business from Europe to Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana. Interswitch partnered with SimbaPay last year to allow the latter’s clients to receive remittances through mobile money and its network of verve ATMs.
“We are thrilled at the prospect of the chatbot service resolving most customer enquiries instantly at any time of day or night” said Daniel Howard, CTO for SimbaPay.
“Another major objective we achieved with the chatbot service is that it also works without internet.
This means customers with a mobile phone, even a basic phone without internet access, can access the SimbaPay chatbot using SMS,” said Mr Howard.
To send money through an SMS, senders using SimbaPay platform are required to share the recipient’s phone number and the chatbot will automatically obtain the recipient bank or mobile money account details.
Recipients of money transfers from SimbaPay also have the flexibility of choosing whether to get their cash delivered to their mobile money wallet or their bank account.
“Interswitch is proud to be associated with a company as innovative as SimbaPay which is continually looking to improve and expand its product offering. We will continue to collaborate in development of products and services that contribute to expansion of the fintech space,” said CEO Interswitch East Africa said, Paul Ndichu.
The SimbaPay chatbot service is also accessible on SimbaPay’s social media channels including Facebook. Popular enquiries that are now resolved by the chatbot include exchange rate queries, how to send money instructions and coverage enquiries.