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Payment card firm Visa on Thursday launched an international money transfer service in partnership with Equity Bank as the battle for the local electronic payment market grows fierce.
Dubbed Visa Personal Payments (VPP), the service will allow Equity Bank customers with Visa branded cards to send money to other visa card holders domestically and across the world at a near-instantaneous speeds.
Equity Bank projects that VPP will give it a competitive edge as it targets the billions of shillings that flow back to Kenya in diaspora remittances.
“It is going to generate a lot of interest to our people in the diaspora because it will mean that someone in the US and Europe can transfer money directly to his relatives in Kenya,” said Equity Bank chief operations officer, Mr Julius Kipng’etich.
Money transfers will be authorised from Equity Bank ATMs and its mobile banking channel.
Equity Bank is the first financial institution in Africa to qualify as an originator of funds under the VPP system. Visa indicates that it will expand VPP to other banks in the region.
Visa and Equity Bank will be stepping into a space dominated by Western Union and MoneyGram as well as mobile money service providers such as M-Pesa.
A Sh50,000 domestic transfer costs about Sh50 while sending the same amount of money across borders will be charged Sh300.
It can cost up to Sh1,000 to send a similar amount of money from the United States to Kenya via Western Union.