PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas—The World Council of Credit Unions and Visa have announced a partnership to bring enhanced mobile capability to credit unions in Kenya.
Kenyan credit unions, known as SACCOs for savings and credit cooperatives, need to offer solutions to members who now face issues when using mobile payments, the World Council of Credit Unions stated during its World CU Conference here.
“The end-result of this effort will be a reduction of cost to members, including duality of costs,” said WOCCU Board Member George Ototo, referring to how members now face high costs for mobile payment using the M-Pesa network and others.
“This project will also lead to increased efficiency for our credit unions and we will be able to reach more consumers and bring more members into our credit unions,” said Ototo, who is CEO of the Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives.
Solve a Lot of Needs
Visa’s Doug Leighton told CUToday.info the project will drive better engagement with SACCOs and their members.
“This will solve a lot of Kenyan credit union members’ needs related to moving money back and forth,” he said. “The manifestation of this will likely be a mobile app, that is what we are hoping for—one that is layered onto existing Visa technology but then is modified and has features that are specific to solving members’ needs.”
One of the goals, too, stated Otto, is to have the new solution work as a point of sale device for mobile phones, which would eliminate members’ reliance on local merchants.
Listened, and Then…
Tom Mazurek, Visa senior director of seller solutions, shared how Visa recently worked with a group of representatives from SACCOs in Kenya to first listen to their needs and then take a deep dive into collectively coming up with possible solutions.
“We leveraged Visa’s Innovation Center in Dubai,” said Mazurek. “We spent two full days engaged with developers, designers and SACCO representatives to discuss possible solutions.”
Mazurek said the group made good progress, addressing key concerns SACCO representatives shared. They said the solution:
- Must generate revenue
- Offer P2P payments
- Have a strong tutorial, especially for those who face literacy issues
- Have an affordable price
- Offer credit functions
“It’s still very early for this effort,” said Leighton. “We just had our ideation session at the end of June. The next phase is to work the business case elements and then get into more of the technical development.”