Safaricom to increase services to unbanked Kenyans

Oct 14, 2010

Kenya mobile phone network Safaricom is to increase its range of mobile banking services in a bid to improve access to finance for the country's unbanked consumers.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Chief of New Products at the firm Betty Mwangi-Thuo explained those who are signed up to its M-Kesho deposit-taking offering will be able to apply for 30-day loans before the end of the year. The company also operates money transfer facility M-Pesa and Ms Mwangi-Thuo told the news agency: "We are doing this for the bulk of M-Pesa subscribers who are unbanked, who haven't had access to financial services at the next level." She added that as of the end of September, there were 13 million people subscribed to M-Pesa, nearly double the figure recorded a year earlier.

Safaricom, which launched in 1993 and also offers mobile broadband services, has signed a deal with Barclays Bank of Kenya that enables the financial institution to offer M-Pesa to its customers.