Visa and Equity Bank launch new money transfer service: Visa Personal Payments

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VPP heralds an innovative, fast and affordable money transfer service in Africa

Nairobi, 23 May 2013 – Visa in Kenya today announced the launch of Visa Personal Payments (VPP) in collaboration with Equity Bank, East Africa’s largest commercial bank by customer base.

Visa Personal Payments is a convenient, cost-effective and secure way for consumers to send funds directly to recipients with Visa cards, both domestically and internationally. Equity Bank is the first bank in Africa to offer the Visa Personal Payments sending capability. Senders can use Visa Personal Payments to make person-to-person payments, send funds to friends or family members, or make account transfers.

Dougie Henderson, Head of Emerging Products and Innovation for Visa in Africa said: “Visa’s operations in Africa are firmly based on bringing about innovative products that promote safe and convenient transactions. As an African first, the launch of Visa Personal Payments, in collaboration with Equity Bank, will open up a new person-to-person money transfer channel to Visa cardholders. Consumers can use the service to send funds to any participating Visa debit, prepaid or credit card domestically or across Africa.”

The service in Kenya will also give Equity Bank Visa cardholders the ability to receive funds at no cost, almost instantaneously, from any participating financial institution originating Visa Personal Payments without the need to visit a branch or agent location.

Equity Bank customers will be able to send money domestically, and within Africa, to any eligible Visa card via Equity Bank’s ATMs.The service will also be available at Equity Bank’s Mobile and Internet banking channels in the near future.To make a transfer; consumers need only the recipient’s 16-digit Visa card number. Transfers are securely processed over the Visa network to the eligible Visa card, and the funds can be used at more than 29 million merchants and 1.6 million Visa branded ATM’s around the world.

“We are especially excited about partnering with Visa, because the company has a global footprint, is well established in Kenya and understands the Kenyan banking sector,” said Dr. Julius Kipng’etich, Equity Bank Chief Operating Officer

“With Visa Personal Payments, our customers will be able to receive funds at no cost. The cost of sending money through the service domestically and regionally is tailored to broaden financial access and deepen financial inclusion. For example, sending a Ksh50,000 domestic transfer will only cost Ksh50 while sending a regional transfer for the same amount will cost Ksh300. This service will make money transfer a more affordable and secure service for our customers,” he added.

Equity Bank’s investment in a robust IT platform has been beneficial to the bank as it innovates with a view to becoming a one stop shop for financial services in the region.  The bank runs on a Global Robust State of the Art Information Technology Computer System supported by Infosys, HP, Oracle and Microsoft.  

The multi-currency, multi-company, multi-country system has a capacity of 35 million accounts and a processing speed of 300,000 transactions per minute.  This system is supported by Way4, an online Card Management System that has multi-institution and multi-currency transaction processing capability and has the ability to handle over 60 million cards with speed performance of 180,000 transactions per minute.

The bank operates its ATM, branch and point of sale (POS) platforms according to the EMV (Europay-MasterCard-Visa) global standard. The robust system is backed by a comprehensive Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery System.

“We believe in this collaboration with Visa, because it gives our customers more value and is aligned to our vision of championing the social economic prosperity of the people of Africa. We shall continue to strengthen our business model through the enhanced use of technology and automation for a better customer experience.” said Dr. Kipng’etich.

“There are 6.2 million Visa cards in circulation in Kenya and we are confident the launch of Visa Personal Payments will improve Visa cardholders banking experience. This kind of innovation demonstrates Visa’s commitment to projects across the continent that are aimed at improving the banking lives of Africa’s populace,” concluded Henderson.

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About Visa

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 24,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit corporate.visa.com Corporate Backgrounder

About Equity Bank Group

Equity Bank Group is one of the region's leading banks whose purpose is to transform the lives and livelihoods of the people of Africa socially and economically by availing them modern, inclusive financial services that maximize their opportunities. While the Equity brand is associated with empowerment of un-banked & the poorly banked segment of population, the Bank has evolved to become an all-inclusive bank for all. With over 8 million accounts, Equity Bank is the largest bank in the region in terms of customer base. The Bank has operations in Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, and Tanzania and is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange and Uganda Securities Exchange

www.equitybankgroup.com