Zebumob, a Kenyan app that keeps track of mobile money transactions, can now boast of 9,600 downloads on Google Play, a major milestone by local standards.
Hailed as one of the most practical apps to hit the local mobile app market, Zebumob app has received various press reviews across the country for enabling mobile money subscribers to manage their cashflows on M-Pesa, Kenya’s leader mobile money transfer platforms.
According to Muthuu Kagio, the founder, the innovation was inspired by the idea that mobile money subscribers have issues when tracking their transactions and it becomes a free fall when they monitor their expenses.
“I wanted to keep track of all my M-Pesa transactions and not just how much I have received and sent but for what purpose the money is for. Meaning creating categories for my expenditure and money received,” he told HumanIPO.
“It took me about one and a half months to come up with it and to develop it,” he said.
In pursuing this project, wouldn’t he have an issue with acquiring M-Pesa users’ details from Safaricom? Kagio devised a way not to tap into the Safaricom database for this to work.
“I don’t have access to their database, I use other ways of determining that M-Pesa confirmation SMS is from M-Pesa. Safaricom didn’t offer any assistance since I deal with users’ phone I really I didn’t need their assistance. They insisted on me putting a disclaimer that the app is third party app and not part of Safaricom,” he said.
The issue of creating apps around major cooperate companies is still a struggle. During the Social Good Summit held late last month, Nzioka Waita, Safaricom Director for Corporate Affairs, noted that small entrepreneurs and companies are afraid to partner with giant firms like Safaricom, for various reasons. But is the company doing enough to give developers a chance?
Tyler Reed, a 24-year-old developer, came up with his own banking application is South Africa that integrates with the Absa Bank. The long delays for the bank to offer such a service made him to create his own solution.
Kagio also anticipates having an application that is integrated with most banks besides integrating other mobile money transfer services. This would be an uphill task to invite the major players to take up the application, but the only way to develop more solutions would be to support up-and-coming talents.