Chase Bank Kenya has partnered with Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom to launch a service that allows businesses to aggregate all their banking services and make them accessible through a mobile phone. The service, called Mobile2Bank, will allow businesses to make payments and collections directly from and to their bank accounts. It will also enable them to access loans and move funds from one Lipa Na M-Pesa till to another in real time. Among those who will use Mobile2Bank are M-Pesa agents, who can now move float between their tills and bank accounts in real time, and send float directly to another agent’s account without having to visit the bank. They will also be able to access loans through Mobile2Bank.
This new service for Kenyan businesses, enabled via a partnership with Chase Bank, is symptomatic of the maturation of the mobile money market sector. We have written frequently in these pages about how mobile money was introduced in response to the large presence of unbanked people and micro-businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa. Spreading access to capital in this way proved tremendously successful, and services such as M-Pesa, the mobile money leader, have proliferated and grown in scope. Safaricom’s M-Pesa established Lipa Na M-Pesa, a version of its mobile money platform for business use. The partnership with Chase, by enabling businesses using M-Pesa to integrate access to bank accounts with mobile money accounts, stands to significantly increase the economic power of Safaricom’s service. Mobile money is no longer just a grass-roots, locally based option for individuals and small businesses that cannot or do not wish to use bank accounts. Now it is becoming increasingly involved with the mainstream, conventional banking business, as well as with the medium and large enterprise sectors. Mobile banking has come of age.