Financial services apps are all the rage in Kenya right now. Where users are not being tempted with easy to access mobile lending facilities, services are being brought closer to them with the incorporation of merchant payments inspired by Safaricom’s M-PESA. The latest such app is KCB’s.
The app, which is not new since it has been around for a while, since its debut 2 years ago, has received a facelift visually and also function-wise. This is quite some good news bearing in mind my earlier dissatisfaction with its functionality.
Added to the app’s main interface are options to pay bills directly from one’s linked KCB accounts to the merchant’s accounts or using PesaLink, M-PESA or MasterCard’s MasterPass and VISA’s mVISA. PesaLink, which is being included in the app for the first time, makes it possible to execute inter-bank payments (using the app’s “Send to Account” option to send money to other banks’ accounts) while mVISA and MasterPass integration make it easy to make mobile payments through the app.
At the moment, however, only mVISA services are available through the application. mVISA services were available prior to the update as well. MasterPass integration is still in the works according to KCB’s head of digital financial services and mobile payments, Eddie Ndichu.
Dubbed “MyKash”, the updated application’s standout feature lets users buy goods, pay bills etc, features that were available prior to the update though not as pronounced as they are now after the update. Other options include being able to load a card for KCB customers and buying float, for its agents. Features like bill reminders, the ability to pay school fees, buy airtime and withdraw cash at agencies were also available on the app previously.
The most understated new MyKash feature which users will find extremely useful is the ability to make payments using either M-PESA’s Pay Bill option or the Buy Goods and Services option directly from one’s bank account, removing the need to manually transfer money from the bank to M-PESA first then using M-PESA to finally settle the payment which is not only tedious and redundant but also costly in terms of associated transaction charges.
A mobile lending facility is also available in the app. Previously known as “Mobiloans”, MyKash loans are accessible to all users of the app. The same can be accessed via the *522# short code. This is in addition to the KCB M-PESA mobile loan facility which is available to users through the M-Shwari menu on M-PESA. KCB M-PESA still lives on and is available under the “Borrow” menu in MyKash on the KCB app.
Safaricom recently updated its mobile app to include support for M-PESA but notably missing was M-Shwari, the micro-saving and borrowing product built into M-PESA. M-Shwari is set to be added to the app at a later date.
The KCB app last received a major facelift mid-last year that saw the bank make it possible for users to open accounts without ever needing to visit a bank branch (that’s how yours truly ended up having a KCB account in the first place).
Applications from other Kenya-based banks like CBA (Loop app), Equity (Eazzy Banking), NIC, Eco among others have recently been launched or updated to include similar functions.
The highlighted changes are available with version 4.1.7 which has been out for over 2 days now on the Play Store.
Header image: KCB