Barclays Bank has been keen on growing its prominence in Fintech. In July 2015, Barclays launched an innovation challenge called the Barclays Africa Challenge seeking ideas and innovations in Fin-tech. The challenge dubbed the Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge was part of a global initiative called the Barclays Rise Innovation program seeking the “next big thing” in financial services.
The bank has now announced another major step in the direction through Barclays Bank of Kenya. The bank has unveiled a mobile card payment solution which will enable Kenyans to pay for low value transactions. The Barclays Mobile Point of Sale (MPOS) is a small phone-like GPRS device that accepts all VISA, MasterCard and AMEX cards. The solution will be particularly useful in making card payments for home deliveries, transportation, entertainment spots among others. All transactions processed through MPOS terminal follow the same transactional and payment flows as that of the traditional POS system. Barclays in currently conducting a pilot for the service and has partnered with Pewin Cabs to roll out the solution to customers. Barclays is also seeking partnership with other firms for the solution.
This is the second high profile mobile platform service launched by the Bank in Kenya. Barclays previously launched a mobile remittance service called Pingit. Pingit allows customers to send and receive money and is particularly useful for those in the diaspora. Pingit is available via mobile applications for free with transaction limits of 750-5000 pounds a day. Users of the service in Kenya need to have a Barclays Bank account.
The real question is: how much will they charge for the MPOS device, or will it be a rental? Plus, I think to further enhance market penetration, they should have looked in to mobile phone credit card readers, which attach directly to a smartphone. Personally I believe that would have had a wider reach, and are a more portable solution.
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