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About half of Kenyan banks have now joined the mobile and electronic money transaction service, PesaLink, giving momentum to the new platform that is intended to rival the service offered by telecommunications companies.


The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) says at least 23 lenders have signed to join the platform which will see banks rival the Safaricom, Airtel and Orange mobile money services. About six banks were on the PesaLink platform when it was launched last month.


“We are making approvals almost every other day and eventually we expect all the 43 commercial banks to join as well as the micro finance banks. Some banks may take longer to get all the approvals including from their group offices outside Kenya, but so far so good,” said KBA chief executive Habil Olaka at a media briefing on Monday.

He was speaking after signing a partnership with the Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) to which the lenders donated Sh4 million to promote peace initiatives among the youth in the run up to the August General Election.


PesaLink, which allows account holders to transfer money across different banks, comes a decade after the inception of M-Pesa in 2007, which was initially opposed by banks.


The lenders however later embraced mobile banking, using it to drive customer deposits. Bank customers were also enabled to deposit and withdraw money from bank accounts via the mobile banking service.


The latest invention, which seeks to eliminate the M-Pesa mediation in the transactions, will also allow customers to transfer up to Sh1 million through mobile phones as opposed to M-Pesa which limits daily cash transfers to Sh140,000.


Customers using PesaLink will initiate transactions from the mobile phone, the banks’ branch, at the ATM, at agency banking outlets or via the Internet.


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