Equity Bank chief operating officer (COO) Julius Kipng'etich said the service, dubbed Visa Personal Payments (VPP), would allow customers with Visa branded cards to send money to other Visa card holders domestically and across the world at near-instantaneous speeds.
“Equity Bank is the first bank in Africa to offer the Visa Personal Payments sending capability,” he said. “The new service will give customers more value and will help promote social economic prosperity of the people of Africa.”
The bank projects VPP will give it a competitive edge as it targets the billions of shillings that flow back to Kenya in diaspora remittances.
“It is going to generate a lot of interest to our people in the diaspora because it will mean that someone in the US and Europe can transfer money directly to his relatives in Kenya. Senders can use Visa Personal Payments to make person-to-person payments, send funds to friends or family members or make account transfers,” he added.
For consumers to make a transfer, they need only the recipient's 16-digit Visa card number. Visa head of emerging products and innovation in Africa Dougie Henderson said Visa was committed to innovative products that promote safety and convenient transactions in the country.
“There are 6.2 million Visa cards in circulation in Kenya and we are confident the launch of Visa Personal Payments will improve Visa cardholders banking experience. This kind of innovation demonstrates Visa's commitment to projects across the continents that are aimed at improving the banking lives of Africa's populace,” he said.
Visa indicates that it will expand VPP to other banks in the region. Visa and Equity Bank will be stepping into a space dominated by Western Union and MoneyGram as well as mobile money service providers such as M-Pesa.