Barclays Bank Kenya (BBK) has launched a new virtual banking product specifically for the Small and Medium Enterprise business. Timiza, a mobile-based virtual account enables customers and non-customers to access banking services directly from their phones. The product is targeted at the youthful population running or wish to start businesses and need quick access to capital keep their business going.
“As a business, we are on a transformation journey where our focus is to use innovation and technology to develop products that are more relevant to the emerging needs of our customers.”
Both Barclays customers and non-customers will be able to access Timiza by dialing the USSD code *848# and putting in their name, ID number and Date of Birth. Customers then receive a PIN instantly and are immediately pre-qualified for a specific loan amount.
With a repayment period of up to 30 days, customers will access instant loans of up to KES150,000 depending on their individual credit score. Timiza also allows customers to deposit funds into their Timiza account through MPESA, pay utility bills, send and receive money directly to other Timiza users. Loans attract a processing fee of 5 per cent and interest rate of 1.7 per cent.
As a first in the market, the Timiza account allows one to sign up for a last expense and personal accident cover of up to KES40,000. For those looking to hail a cab, Timiza app comes embedded with a taxi hailing option in partnership with LittleCab. There are plans to expand the app capabilities in the future to include a virtual pre-paid card which will enable customers make online payments.
According to the bank, the launch was part of a five-year strategy that will see focus shift to end to end digital experience for the customers. “Our digital agenda is all about making our services efficient, faster and efficiency for both the customers and bank,” said Awori.
He adds that the launch was an important milestone in the lender’s wider virtual banking strategy targeting to recruit at least five million new customers in the next five years.
A survey of 2,600 banking customers in six African countries released by McKinsey in February showed that a majority of customers (53 per cent) across the economic segments prefer either internet or mobile channels, compared to 26 per cent that prefer the branch.