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I&M offers free mobile money transfers to SMEs in Kenya

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Pan-African banking group I&M will offer free M-Pesa and Airtel Money transfers to solo business owners.

The decision follows the bank's previous move to waive transfer fees for personal account holders, a proposition known as "Ni Sare Kabisa."

The "Ni Sare Kabisa" proposition is a commitment to supporting small businesses and promoting financial inclusion in the East African country of Kenya, and the free bank to M-Pesa and Airtel transfers for sole proprietorships underscore this commitment, I&M Bank said.

The pan-African bank added that the business owners can visit any branch or download the I&M Bank App and open an account digitally and start saving money with the free transfers.

"Our new to bank customers who opened personal accounts last year have benefited tremendously from the Ni Sare Kabisa proposition. In addition to the free bank to M-Pesa and Airtel Money transfers, customers will have access to unsecured personal loans, a newly launched 30-day loan and up to 12% per annum interest on savings via the I&M Savers Account," explained I&M Head of Personal & Business Banking Shameer Patel.

Data-driven decision

I&M Bank Head of Small Business Eunice Kinyanjui said the bank gathered insights that resulted in it extending the free transfers to solo business owners.

"Many entrepreneurs have not separated their business and personal financial bank accounts and miss out on solutions that can grow their business," she said.

"Early last year, we listened to our personal customers on the high cost of living and their pain with paying fees for bank to mobile wallet transfers and decided to make it free," added I&M Bank Kenya CEO Gul Khan.

Furthermore, he said, small businesses in Kenya play a huge role in driving economic growth with their 40% contribution to GDP.

"As we celebrate 50 years of I&M Bank in Kenya, Solo Biz owners can now reduce their expenses and invest more into growing their business with the 'Ni Sare Kabisa' proposition," he added.

Mobile money growth

I&M Bank's recent announcement is in line with a new report from Ericsson and Juniper Research entitled "What Will Drive Mobile Financial Services' Growth?". The report suggests that Africa is poised to have the largest mobile financial services (MFS) growth globally due to rising affluence in the countries involved and a shift to advanced services.

That research claims that MFS transaction values in Africa will grow by 114% in the next five years.

The report was inspired by the GSMA's Mobile Money tracker and based on GSMA data.

Furthermore, I&M Bank's announcement is in line with a GSMA report that said mobile money has been a catalyst for achieving 15 out of 17 United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), up from 13 in 2019.

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*Top image source: freepik.

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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