Equity Direct (a strategic partnership between The Equity Bank Group in Kenya and VFX Financial PLC (VFX) in the UK) has announced the expansion of its Remittances and Commercial Payment services to Kenya.
The service now includes International Collections for receivables due to Kenyan companies and institutions from their customers abroad. Steven Faulkner – Global Head of Strategic Partnerships and Product Management at VFX commented “we are delighted to extend our product capabilities with the Equity Bank Group using their deep expertise and wide in-country payments infrastructure.
This allows us to collectively deliver new and innovative products across the customer spectrum, everything from remittances to corporate cash management solutions. There will be further innovations in the coming weeks particularly in the education sector”.
Having addressed the issue of providing affordable, fast and convenient remittances over 3 years ago to Kenya, Equity Direct has been providing extremely low-cost online remittance services into Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, well below the 3% referenced by the World Bank.
Transactions terminating to Equity Bank accounts in these countries are capped at £1 and €1 from the Eurozone with transactions to other banks and payment channels in the region capped at £4 and €4 Euros respectively. Exchange rates are and always have been amongst some of the best in the market and using Equity Direct it is economical to send even the smallest sums.
Last year Equity Direct was enhanced to enable the payment of school fees. Now it is possible using Equity Direct to enable other regular payments through its international collections service “Paybill +”. Paybill + serves the Education, Investment and Insurance sectors and enables the collection of receivables from the diaspora and facilitates their timely identification and application by the service provider to the underlying account holder under an “Advice to Receive”.
The Advice to Receive is sent directly to the receiving company or institution at the moment that the payment takes place enabling them to apply the funds irrespective of the reference data that appears on the bank statement.
The service is bank agnostic (although there are increased efficiencies by maintaining an account at Equity Bank) and is now used by the Higher Education Loans Board in Kenya for the payment of tuition fees and the repayment of education loans.
Dr Mwangi commented “having democratised remittances to Kenya over 3 years ago, we look forward to serving the business community in overcoming pernicious operational and cost issues in receiving funds from abroad.
The Equity Bank Group looks forward to adding value to the supply chain by lowering administrative costs and providing the high-quality reference data to enable corporates and businesses to manage their cash more effectively”.
Later this year the Equity Direct service will be expanded to the DRC where Equity Bank is present.