The interbank money transfer platform Pesa Link launched in February last year has transacted Sh81 billion in the 17 months to date.
The platform is offered by Integrated Payment Services Ltd (IPSL), a fully-owned subsidiary of Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), and can handle person-to-person transfers from as low as Sh10 to a high of Sh999,999.
Agnes Gathaiya, CEO of IPSL, says the platform’s subscriber base has continued to grow with the number of banks adopting it rising to 30, with another unnamed six banks lining up to join.
“Sh81 billion has been transacted in the period since we launched. Over three million accounts have been linked with 30 banks having gone live, and six applications in progress,” she said in interview.
PesaLink was set up to rival telcos’ mobile money service currently dominated by Safaricom’s M-Pesa. KBA manages the switch and facilitates direct transfers without going through intermediaries such as M-Pesa, Airtel Money and Orange Money.
While the initial phase of the project involved person-to-person money transfers, the second phase will include businesses and establish partnerships with government agencies, mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) and other players in the mobile money transfer subsector, said Ms Gathaiya. IPSL is also expected to bring on-board licensed microfinance institutions (MFIs).
Banks first conceived Pesa Link in 2012, when they estimated they were ceding about Sh2.3 billion to telcos in potential fee earnings to mobile money transfer services.
The cash transacted via mobile phones hit Sh3.7 trillion in the 12 months to March, showing that this is now the preferred mode of cash transfer for Kenyans looking to move smaller amounts of money.
Banks have also moved to integrate their operations with those of mobile money services, most notably M-pesa, by enabling their customers to shift funds from their accounts to mobile wallets through their phones.