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Equity Bank has inked a deal with global online payments provider PayPal as the lender seeks to grow revenues from the heightened uptake of web-based commerce.
The partnership with the payments services arm of eBay allows traders in Kenya to buy and sell products and services at the online marketplace and receive payments through their bank accounts which will be linked to PayPal.
This is part of the regional lender’s strategy to turn to technologies such as mobile banking, online banking, agency banking, mobile money transfer and online payments systems to grow income from commissions.
“This initiative with Paypal is part of our commitment to harness technology and strategic partnerships in ensuring that our customers continue to enjoy the freedom of modern banking,” said James Mwangi, Equity Bank’s chief executive.
Equity is seeking to exploit PayPal’s global reach to tap into its customer base of more than 137 million users based in 193 markets around the world.
Customers will be able to receive PayPal payments in 26 different currencies and will be credited to their accounts in Kenya shillings.
Efi Dahan, PayPal’s regional director for Africa and Israel, said Kenya was the firm’s second stop in Africa after setting up operations in South Africa three years ago.
“This strategic partnership is a major milestone on our exciting journey in sub-Saharan Africa to enable e-commerce across the region and integrate it into the global marketplace,” said Mr Dahan.
Equity, ranked the region’s largest lender by customer numbers with more than 8.2 million accounts, said it plans to extend the service to its outlets in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan.
Equity Bank said its half-year net profits to June stood at Sh6.3 billion; placing it second in the profitability race after KCB Bank which posted Sh7.1 billion in a similar period.
This has seen KCB remain Kenya’s most profitable lender among the top-tier banks, ahead of rivals Equity (Sh6.3 billion) and Co-operative (Sh4.7 billion).
The number of Kenyans turning to the Internet to buy and sell goods and services has been growing immensely due to increased uptake of smartphones and affordable data costs.
Kenya’s total Internet users have grown five-fold in the last five years to 16.4 million users or 41 per cent of the population as at March this year, official data shows.
Mobile data and Internet services account for 99 per cent of total subscriptions, according to latest statistics from the Communications Commission of Kenya.
– Business Daily