Airtel, Ecobank partner on mobile banking

Ecobank Mobile Banking has partnered with Airtel Money to offer new services in Zambia.

Fayaz King, Managing Director, Airtel Zambia, and Charity Chanda Lumpa, Managing Director of Ecobank, have announced a partnership that brings to market a new service dubbed Ecobank Mobile with Airtel Money.

The partners say the service is set to improve the current challenges faced by the formal banking sector by bringing the unbanked citizens into the formal banking sector.

During the joint launch, King reinforced Airtel’s commitment to work with Ecobank towards financial inclusion of the unbanked in society. Airtel plans to bring forth more innovations to Airtel Money due to the ease with which the product works.

Lumpa, said: “On 14 September 2011, Airtel successfully launched the Airtel Money mobile wallet. This product has been well received on the Zambian Market and I am now told now that it has in excess of 200,000 active users. By utilising the mobile phone, now one of the most essential personal tools in modern society, Airtel Money has the potential to completely change the face of banking.”

She said: “The banking industry in Zambia has long faced the challenge of bringing the unbanked and under-banked citizens into the formal banking sector. Airtel Money is playing a significant role in mitigating this challenge. Indeed the rapid growth of Airtel Money is testimony to its user-friendliness, convenience, affordability, relevance and easy access.”

Commenting on the partnership, King explained: “The service gives customers the freedom to manage their bank account from their phone thus providing faster banking services, whilst expanding the customer base of both Ecobank and Airtel, through the provision of easy access to funds, using the mobile phone. Over K500 million worth of Airtel money transactions are carried out on a daily basis and this number continues to grow.”

“Available statistics indicate that only 17% of adult population has bank accounts and fewer have debit cards. But close to 43% of Zambians have mobile phones thus making it relevant: One-stop shop experience. Further 63% of Zambia’s population do not have immediate access to a banking facility therefore migrates unbanked customers to banked customers giving them an opportunity to become engaged in the formal banking sector.”

And officiating during the joint launch, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Stephen Mwansa, stated: “I wish to commend this partnership between Ecobank and Airtel, which is testament of how two companies from unrelated fields can come together to provide the Zambian public with innovative products and services that are purely aimed at enhancing the lives of our general population. Generally speaking, there seems to be no link between banking and telecommunication, but now we know that when you put banking and telecommunications together, you are addressing a twofold need, that is, finance management and communication.”

Mwansa added, “It is my belief that this product, Ecobank Mobile money, will indeed provide that much needed convenience and further simplify the banking process. I would like to encourage other banks and telecommunication companies to emulate what Ecobank and Airtel are doing in coming up with products that are aimed at improving the lives of our people in Zambia.”

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