The Kenyan Payment Space, Exploring Customer Options

NationHela is the relatively new service launched by a partnership mainly between Nation Media Group and Diamond Trust bank. The platform, built by Craft Silicon enables the Kenyans living abroad to remit money to friends and family. After signing up the card will facilitate the owner to move money to Safaricom’s Mpesa, withdraw cash at any ATM via Visa and make payments at supermarkets.


On social media some of the early adopters, are talking about the service.  Apparently even for the big players, teething problems cannot be avoided.  The team @NationHela is working hard to resolve the issues being raised by their clients though.


The payment space has some impressive numbers. The remittance market alone is estimated at $590 million in the year ending June 2012 (up from $409 million the previous year).


A new entrant, Lipisha also wants a piece of the cake. The service is run by a consortium constituting seasoned companies in the Kenyan I.C.T sector like Shimba technologies, Symbiotic Limited and Mama Mikes, an online marketplace.


The service makes it easier for small, medium enterprises to receive payments for school fess or even rent from tenants. There is also a money remittance feature on Lipisha, Tellele that allows people from all over the world to send each other money from their mobile devices or computers.


Competition is also very high. Existing services include Pesapal which makes it easy for business to accept payments through Safaricom’s M-Pesa, Airtel Money and YuCash.  They also make it possible to pay bills and school fees and buy tickets online.  Another service, Jambo Pay also facilitates e-commerce and collecting of money.


The challenge for all the players in the space is whether the claim to making the life of the  Kenyan customer easier, is being lived up to or is there more that needs to be done.