'Facebook money transfer to benefit African users'

Digital finance experts in Kenya say African users will increasingly benefit from the introduction of a money transfer service onto Facebook's instant messaging platform.

Facebook said last week that users on its social media and networking platform will now be able to send money to each other using its "more convenient and secure" money transfer service which it will offer for free.

Frederick Abot, the Cooperative Bank of Kenya's head of banking applications support, said the area of mobile money needed more players for users to enjoy more benefits.

"The more players jump into that space the better for customers. We hope to see more," said Abot.

Another Kenyan digital finance expert, Jacqueline Jumah, who is manager for strategic operations for digital finance at Microsave Kenya said "the customer benefits at the end of the day".

Other experts said the integration of mobile money and digital finance platforms with social media and instant messaging platforms was the next step in the revolution of digital finance and mobile money platforms, especially for the African region.

They said this was especially important for Africa's growing digitally connected population and highlighted that the region's low base in mobile penetration rate and smartphone usage provided scope for tapping into the area.

"People spend most of their time on instant messaging and social media platforms.

"Integrating banking and finance into that area will enhance usage and convenience which will give rise to adoption and further development," said another expert.

Facebook explained users must link their Visa or MasterCard debit cards to their Facebook accounts in order to access the money transfer service.