VENTURES AFRICA – English financial service provider Barclays Bank, today officially launched Pingit, its mobile money transfer service in the Kenyan market to tap into the country’s growing diaspora remittances.
Pingit will allow Kenyans in the diaspora to send money to recipients back home via mobile phones at no cost. Users will have to download and register via the app to be able to send payments.
Barclays chose Kenya which received about $600 million in remittances in the first half of 2012 according to the Central Bank of Kenya, as the first African country to launch the mobile service.
“From this perspective, the launch of Barclays Pingit on the Kenyan market is an affirmation of the country’s growing relevance in the international financial market,” said Barclays Bank regional managing director for East and West Africa, Adan Mohamed.
Pingit will be launched in Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Seychelles and Mauritius by the end of 2012. Barclays intends to roll out the service in Africa before further expansion into Europe in 2013.
Barclays Pingit links the user’s current account with their mobile phone number, enabling payments to be sent directly to that account via the Faster Payments Scheme. Barclays said it will set up a “wallet” account for non-customers using the Pingit app, to facilitate payments.
Barclay’s joins a host of institutions that are tapping into Kenya’s increasing diaspora remittances. Last month, the Nation Media Group (NMG launched the NationHela prepaid Visa card, an international money transfer service targeting the diaspora. Several Kenyan banks have also partnered with mobile operators to allow their account holders receive international remittances.
Barclays bank is targeting more than 200,000 people of Kenyan origin living in the UK as well as foreign investors, expatriates and business people who travel to the UK for business regularly.
“We constantly strive to improve and evolve our services around our changing customers’ needs, and this latest development is part of a series of enhancements to make mobile payments more accessible and easy to use. Barclays has a long history of innovation firsts and we continue to lead the way in the banking industry,” said Barclays Plc Chief Executive Antony Jenkins.
Mohamed said the bank is now well positioned to play a key role in mobilizing Diaspora remittances and facilitating bilateral trade between Kenya and the UK.
“For our loyal customers, the launch of Pingit will also be a convenient choice that will allow Barclays Hello Money customers in Kenya to receive money from their friends, families and business associates in the UK for free.” said Mohammed.
To use the service, senders will have to key in the recipient’s mobile number and the amount to be sent via the Pingit application . The tranfer of funds will be done in less than 20 minutes. UK customers will be allowed to send up to £750 per day.
Barclays launched Pingit in the UK in February registering significant success . In just two months, Pingit had hit 400,000 downloads.