Seeing customers pull cash from their wallets is increasingly rare. Kenya is well on way to becoming a cashless economy, embracing mobile and digital payments at an unprecedented rate; from the perspective of business and technology, it’s clearly more efficient and productive.
Fortunately, mobile solutions are nothing like the costly, burdensome legacy systems that have weighed down the travel sector for decades. There are basic mobile solutions that can be implemented quickly to support the multiple payment methods consumers want while allowing businesses to scale up as needs grow. This is important. Consumers want to use payment methods that are intuitive, familiar and already baked into their devices, like M-pesa, Airtel Money, M-Visa Easy Pay e.t.c and banks, increasingly, paying-by-link in their accounts.
Original Story By: Elena Mesropyan
It’s not just about new forms of payment but also about transforming the consumer’s experience, with the goal of making it more end-to-end, seamless, relevant and personalized for the individual — and more profitable for the enterprise. Enabling mobile payments is the first step to a truly cashless and mobile economy that goes beyond transactions and opens up new business opportunities in the travel sector and elsewhere.
This is a critical moment in business and technology, and we should be looking to countries like Denmark, India and Vietnam to understand the opportunity and not fall behind.
While being the largest unserved market that has dropped out of sight of the global financial system, Africa as a market has all the prerequisites promising to serve as a firm foundation for FinTech growth and development. Among the key data points characterizing Africa’s state of the financial system, the SWIFT Institute has outlined the following ones:
- In 47 out of the 89 markets where mobile money is available, both banks and nonbanks are allowed to provide mobile money services.
- Half of almost 300 million registered mobile money accounts globally are located in sub-Saharan Africa.
- There are 2.26 million mobile money agents in developing countries around the world, many more than the number of alternative financial access points comprising ATMs (1.38 million), commercial bank branches (524,000), post offices (501,000) and Western Union locations (500,000).
Certain segments of the financial services industry on the continent are particularly advanced in terms of adoption scale and attractiveness to entrants. Remittance via mobile has picked up a rapid pace in Africa, with Kenyans using mobile money services for over eight years already; M-Pesa being Kenya’s dominant mobile money provider, the segment allows people to make P2P payments by simply texting.
In the face of an outstanding opportunity presented in Africa, an ecosystem of FinTech startups providing services across segments have grown to transform the financial services industry on the continent for inclusive growth (with the support of dedicated accelerators and incubators). In this review, let’s take a closer look at some of the interesting FinTech companies in Kenya – the country that is expected to become one of the hottest mobile money in the world by 2020 (Kenya has the highest rate of financially included population on the continent – 65%):
3G Direct Pay Group is an online solution for e-commerce, providing merchant services to thousands of travel-related and other businesses, focusing on Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Zanzibar, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia and Ethiopia, accepting all major credit cards, mobile money and e-wallets.
Abacus builds web and mobile software to help investors across the globe access African financial markets. The company makes it possible for both local and international investors to research and invest, any time, any where.
BambaPos is a low-cost, easy-to-implement point-of-sale and inventory management solution that is designed to solve most merchant automation challenges.
Beyonic enables mobile payments for business expenses in emerging markets.
BitPesa is a pan-African platform redefining how businesses make payments to and from sub-Saharan Africa. Focused on using cutting-edge blockchain technology to increase efficiency across markets, BitPesa opens corridors for business payments and trade between Africa and the rest of the world.
Bitsoko is an Android blockchain-based mobile wallet.
Branch is a new way to access credit over a smartphone in Kenya. Customers need to fill out an application for an affordable loan that is delivered directly to their mobile money account. It offers personalized, responsive customer support that meets the needs.
Caytree Financial offers a business accounting solution with a powerful invoicing function that allows finance staff to send invoices right from the office; allows tracking sales directly from the field with its Android mobile application; offers cloud-based data storage and reporting.
Cellulant is a digital payments service provider that prompts, collects, settles and reconciles payments in real time is using mobile wallets to empower farmers across Africa as well as powering transactions for millions of merchants and utility facilities across Africa. It provides a mobile payment ecosystem connecting consumers, merchants, banks, etc.
Chura is an airtime services provider: Buy airtime service enables buying of airtime across networks, and Mass airtime service enables companies to supply airtime to their employees at a click of a button.
The money services are: PayPal to Mpesa instant money transfer and Mpesa to PayPal which enables users to top up their PayPal using Mpesa instantly. Coming services: Chura Remit will enable credit/debit card holders to send money to Mpesa, and Chura Virtual Cardwill be a debit card in form of a mobile app that can be topped up with Mpesa.
ConnectAfrica is a B2B technology solution connecting various payment networks together. Members of the hub are able to facilitate cross-network transfers. Targeted members are e-wallet providers, banks, payments service providers and many more.
Direct Pay Online provides a real time, cloud-based processing platform, with state of the art technology that supports multiple transaction types with online and offline capabilities. The technology supports all modes of payments, all cards, mobile money, all currencies, mobile apps and card readers. The Direct Pay Online customer care team provides a single point of contact to you and your end customers.
Eastpesa is a platform that helps users to send and receive money within Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Eastpesa is digitizing money transfer in Africa in a couple of ways: online payments, cross-border transfer, e-commerce, and simple integration tools for developers.
Eclectics International offers tailor-made software for the banking and financial sector. The company conducts complex systems audits and evaluations for purposes of recommending their effectiveness and deployment. Eclectics has implemented ICT systems in over 20 countries and with ongoing projects in Botswana, Zambia, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
Esacco is a local product designed to manage needs of saving and credit cooperative organizations (SACCOs), Matatu Saccos, Welfare groups, Chamas with Table Banking Structure, Pension schemes, Housing Cooperatives and other Microfinance organizations; promoting accountability, transparency, enhancing efficiency and cost cutting. Esacco adheres to the SASRA SACCO Information Management guidelines. The company enables production and hosting of in-depth reports and financial statements from anywhere in the world.
FarmDrive is a FinTech social enterprise that exists to bridge the huge funding gap between smallholder farmers and financial institutions through innovative ways of extending credit. FarmDrive’s vision is an economically sustainable Africa where smallholder farmers have easy access to reliable, convenient, transparent and affordable finance to achieve self-sustenance.
Forex enables foreign exchange consumers to compare quotes from diverse currency dealers, agree transactions online and settle payments electronically.
GrassRoots Bima is an InsurTech startup seeking to promote financial inclusion through the provision of innovative digitized affordable insurance services for the mass market. Its’ WazInsure™ technology platform interfaces with mobile payments to make microinsurance more accessible to the company’s target market thereby increase insurance penetration in Africa.
InsureAfrika is a Kenyan company that provides free online insurance quotes from insurance companies in Kenya. InsureAfrika.com is the first online platform to shop for and buy insurance in Kenya. It provides insurance quotes for various insurance products like car insurance, health insurance and travel insurance.
iNuka Pap is a VAS proposition to SACCO members that enables them to access small amounts of cash advances as well other consumer services such as prepaid electricity, airtime, and insurance. iNuka Pap takes convenience to a new level and promises to address customer’s small cash emergencies anywhere and anytime.
JamboPay is an online payment gateway that allows users to make and receive payments through mobile phone over the internet. Through JamboPay, shoppers can pay for goods and services online while sellers can receive payments for purchases made online. JamboPay allows for mobile payments such as M-Pesa, Airtel Money, and YU-CASH, bank payments, Visa and MasterCard debit and credit cards.
Jumo is a marketplace that connects millions of small businesses that uses behavioral data from mobile usage to create financial identities for SMEs. Its customers can then access a world of choice where banks compete to provide the best savings product or working capital to grow their business.
Kipochi is a bitcoin wallet platform that allows users to receive and send bitcoins all over the world even for people using simple low-cost feature phones. Kipochi works on all mobile phones, having SMS, USSD and HTML5 frontends, as well as desktop computers. It works in partnership with M-Pesa.
Kopo Kopo offers a software-as-a-service that enables the 30 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets to accept, process, and manage mobile money payments (e.g. Safaricom M-Pesa, Airtel Money).
Kwanji is a foreign exchange (FX) aggregator designed to provide businesses with direct access to the best possible FX rate through its comparative platform of FCA regulated brokers.
Lakt provides a mobile-first financial service and literacy platform for teenagers. It encourages financial discipline through budgeting and savings designed to enable one save towards a specific target. Users can save and spend on shared expenses such as vacation with siblings and friends.
LelapaFund is a niche crowd investment platform dedicated to African companies. The platform provides individual investors around the world with access to previously untapped investment opportunities on the African continent. Investors can buy shares online in pre-vetted startups and small businesses whose products and services are sold on high-growth consumer markets across Africa.
Lipisha offers mobile payment solutions with features, including enhanced security, integrated payment networks, payment alerts, and more.
M-Changa is a fundraiser management platform that provides cutting edge end-to-end management tools to enhance fundraising success.
M-Pesa is a mobile-phone based money transfer and microfinancing service. Founded in 2007, it was originally designed as a system to allow microfinance-loan repayments to be made by phone, reducing the costs associated with handling cash and thus making possible lower interest rates. But after pilot testing, it was broadened to become a general money-transfer service.
Musoni is a microfinance company in Kenya that leverages Information Communication Technology (ICT) heavily to manage its operations much more efficiently than peer organizations and to scale rapidly as it delivers better services to clients.
Nomanini is an enterprise payments platform provider that enables transactions in the cash-based informal retail sector.
Packline Systems offers financial-based software services to leading financial institutions around, focusing on the provision of affordable state of the art IT solutions for African Financial Market. Packline Systems Ltd has been a leading Temenos Globus/T24 and eMerge implementers, support Company and Trainer for over a decade.
PesaPal is an internet payment company with operations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi. PesaPal solutions allow users to shop online, pay bills and even buy airtime through a partnership with Orange Kenya.
Remit is a mobile payments service that allows people to make real-time money transfers from debit or credit card to mobile-money from all over the world to registered mobile money users in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.
Tala is mobile technology and data science company that provides a credit scoring and reporting platform to financial services institutions in emerging countries.
Tangazoletu is a client-centric, Kenyan ICT firm that develops ICT solutions that automate business processes in every sector of the economy to promote efficiency, sustainable innovation, and best practice. The company also offers mobile solutions used by millions of Kenyans, every day and is licensed by Communication Authority to provide premium rate and content services.
Umati Capital is a non-bank financial institution focused on the provision of credit and related payment technologies.