Banks take on M-Pesa as they roll out money transfer platform in March

Bankers on Thursday unveiled mobile cash transfer system after nearly five years of strategising.

The platform dubbed PesaLink will enable bank customers to move between Sh10 and Sh999,999 from one account to another.

The platform, which will transfer cash between mobile and internet banking channels, ATM and branch, will be operationalised in the next one month.

The transfers will be done real-time, without going through intermediaries, including mobile money transfer platforms like M-Pesa, Airtel Money and Orange money.

"PesaLink has been developed as a complimentary tool to existing mobile money transfer and related wallets," KBA chief executive Habil Olaka said during the launch.

"As complimentary tool, it is not out to compete with any existing mobile money wallet or transfer product," he added.

But mobile money platforms will lose the transaction fees they earn from mobile banking transfers once the KBA platform goes live.

The payment switch is being run by KBA's digital innovations subsidiary, the Integrated Payment Services Ltd.


The Central Bank has approved 12 out of 42 banks to roll out the PesaLink product.

They are Standard Chartered, Co-operative, Barclays, Diamond Trust, I&M, and Gulf African Bank.

Others are Middle East Bank, Victoria Commercial Bank, Guardian Bank, Credit Bank and Prime Bank.

IPSL chief executive Jennifer Theuri said the rest of the banks are at different stages of getting CBK's approvals.

IPSL said it was looking at charging Sh11 per transaction, with individual banks setting their own fees after regulatory approval.

Transfers of up to Sh500 will be free, in a strategy geared towards attracting the masses to the platform, she said.

"We are confident that we are creating value for the banking industry as PesaLink will provide a safe, secure and cost-efficient platform for Person-to Person money transfer," Theuri said.


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