Image Credit: PesaLink

PesaLink is a real-time interbank switch from Integrated Payment Services Limited(IPSL). IPSL is an affiliate of the Kenyan Bankers Association. PesaLink is more or less like mobile money and it is seen as a direct reply to the latter.

Just like mobile money, PesaLink enables mobile phone users to send and receive money from each other while also sending money to their respective bank accounts without any intermediaries involved. Previously, the intermediary has been mobile money but it is now out of the equation.

The Kenyan Bankers Association is an umbrella body of Kenyan banks and financial institutions currently with a membership count of 47, some of which have cross-border operations in Uganda like Equity Bank, KCB, DTB, Bank of India, Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Citi Bank, Eco Bank, GTB among others.

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It should be noted that Mobile Money has cannibalized the would-be bank customers owing to its ease and non-bureaucratic nature. It is for this reason that mobile money has more registered accounts than the whole conventional banking industry in most East African countries.

PesaLink is seen as a solution to address this while keeping bankers (previously excluded by telecoms) within the fold. It allows its users to send money from as low as Ksh 10 (UGX 350) up to Ksh 1,000,000 (UGX 35,000,000). PesaLink can be accessed through different avenues like mobile banking (USSD & Mobile applications), Internet Banking, ATMs, POS terminals, Bank branches and through agency banking.

Agency banking is reminiscent of the mobile money branch chain where mobile money operators license agents to do business on their behalf. It is this that has upheld mobile money over traditional banks since you can easily find agents in every corner of the country.

However, costs associated with PesaLink shall vary across different banks as is the case with sending mobile money to non-mobile user accounts. PesaLink, for now, will only allow P2P transfers while transfers to bank accounts will roll out in the nearby future.

While our Kenyan Banking brothers are looking to keep mobile money in check, could their Ugandan counterparts or affiliates borrow a leaf and innovate fast with the same solution? Similarly, mobile money has disrupted the Ugandan banking industry to an extent that some of the giants in the industry have had to partner with telecoms to offer mobile payments solutions.

If they’re armed with a similar solution like PesaLink, the intermediaries (read telecoms) will be thrown out and in return, it will keep costs down for the end user which might increase their customer base.