Barclays Bank of Kenya has launched a virtual mobile based banking platform with the launch of Timiza, which enables customers and non-customers to access banking services directly from their phones.
With the pre-conceived notion that the banks’ products are specifically set aside for its premium clients the launch of Timiza is proof that the lender offers products for everybody, primarily targeting young entrepreneurs (hustlers and young professionals) who need quick access to capital in order their business going.
Barclays Bank Managing Director Jeremy Awori said the launch of Timiza marks an important milestone in the lender’s wider virtual banking strategy which targets to recruit at least five million new customers in the next five years.
“As a business, we are on a transformation journey where our focus is to use innovation and technology to develop products that are more relevant to the emerging needs of our customers. The launch of Timiza today is a clear demonstration of this commitment,” Mr. Awori said.
Both Barclays customers and non-customers will be able to access Timiza by dialling the USSD code *848# limited to Safaricom subscribers. The user needs to input their name, ID number and date of Birth thereafter the customers will receive a PIN instantly and are immediately pre-qualified for a specific loan amount.
With a repayment period of up to 30 days, customers will access instant loans of up to Ksh 150,000 and interest rate of 6.71 per cent depending on their individual credit score. Customers will also be able to deposit funds into their Timiza account through MPESA, pay utility bills, send and receive money directly to other Timiza users and save.
The Timiza account also allows one to sign up for a last expense and personal accident cover of up to Ksh 40,000 from Barclays Life Insurance and First Assurance. The app also comes embedded with a taxi hailing option in partnership with Little Cab. There are plans to expand the app capabilities in the future to include a virtual pre-paid card which will enable customers make online payments.
According to the Communications Authority of Kenya, for the period between July to September 2017, active mobile money transfer subscriptions and agents stood at 28.1 million and 184,537 respectively. In addition, a total of 537.2 million transactions (sending and withdrawals) were made during the period which was valued at Ksh1.65 trillion. The period also saw 352.4 million mobile commerce transactions made with Ksh 714.3 billion spent in buying goods and services person to person transfers amounted to Ksh 544.1 billion.
The bank is seeking to leverage this rising adoption of digital platforms with most consumers now expressing a strong preference for mobile and internet banking over the traditional in-branch transactions. A survey of 2,600 banking customers in six African countries released by McKinsey in February showed that a majority of customers (53%) across the economic segments prefer either internet or mobile channels, compared to 26%.