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A Brief Look Into The Future of Financial Services

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Equity’s Bank Group’s Fintech subsidiary Finserve Africa recently launched m-Key keyboard app which offers financial, social and lifestyle features. The launch comes at a time when various institutions in Kenya are introducing financial apps to take advantage of the growing demand for easy-to-access services in the country.

However, the app sets itself apart with a completely different way for users to engage with their money.The key innovation is the seamless user experience of not having to leave your favourite apps. From chatting with friends to brainstorming with teammates in group chat; paying for goods and services, transferring money to your contacts across all social media platforms, to settling utility bills and even streaming your favourite music from YouTube. You can access almost all your service needs without ever leaving m-key universe.

Getting Started with mKey

To begin using the app, download it from Google Play Store and sign up with either Google or Facebook. Once you are signed up, the prompt will ask you to enter your mobile phone number after which you can choose to activate the mKey keyboard.

If you would prefer to use your current keyboard, tap the ‘Skip’ option and the app will take you to a landing page. Once here, tap the green arrow on your right to activate your account and get started using the app.

The activation process simply involves entering details such as your name, ID number, date of birth, and email address and agreeing to mKey’s terms and conditions.The app will then send a verification code to your mobile phone number which you should enter in the field provided.

Once done, create a 6-digit passcode and type it in the blank space and you are set to begin a rewarding financial journey.

The mKey Journey

You will note that once you enter your passcode, the mKey interface is different from other financial apps. mKey offers a similar feel to game apps like candy crush because it aims to make your financial journey not only fun but also rewarding.

The app will offer you stars, prizes, and rewards in form of cash backs or airtime for the transactions you make. For example, when you complete the first level, you will earn five stars and a surprise gift.

Load Up Your Account

Loading up your mKey account is as easy as tapping ‘Deposit’ at the bottom of the screen and choosing a funding option. The available options include Equitel, Eazzy Banking, M-Pesa, and an Equity agent. Whichever option you choose, you will receive detailed instructions on how to deposit money to your account.

For instance, to deposit money through an Equity Bank agent, find an agent near you and request to deposit money to your mKey account. The agent will ask for your mobile number and the amount you want to deposit. Hand over the cash and the amount will be sent to your account.

Once your account is loaded up, you can now begin to make various transactions from the app.

Money Transfers and Withdrawals

To send money, tap the ‘Transact & Borrow’ option and choose whether to send money to mobile, bank or social media.

With mKey, you can send money to another mKey mobile number, an Equitel number, an M-Pesa number or an Airtel number.

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To withdraw funds from your mKey account, tap ‘Transact & Borrow’ then click ‘Withdraw.’ Withdrawals are made through an agent, so locate the nearest Equity Bank agent near you to withdraw your desired amount.

Credit Access

Loan apps have become popular in Kenya and mKey is leading the way with from Sh300 to Sh1 million.

To receive a loan, tap ‘Transact & Borrow’ then choose ‘Get Loan.’ The app will display your loan limit including a field where you can view the terms of getting the loan.

Pay Your Bills with Ease

Paying bills with mKey is easy because it provides a Pay Bills option under the ‘Transact & Borrow’ menu at the bottom of the screen.

With mKey, you can pay for your water, electricity, and TV bills as well as your HELB loan. The app has a long list of Pay Bill numbers to choose from. All you have to do is type the Pay Bill number you are looking for in the search bar and make your payments.

Moreover, you can purchase airtime for any Kenyan mobile operator using the app or buy goods using the wide range of listed businesses on the app. The app also offers the option to scan a QR code to purchase items.

Shifting your Chama to a Digital Platform

Besides offering financial services to an individual, mKey also has a Group feature that is appealing for chamas.

Simply tap ‘My Account’ at the top of the screen and choose ‘Create a New Group Account.’ Give your group a name, add members using a link invitation, and start making monthly contributions through the app. The mKey group feature has a rewarding system as well.

Upcoming Financial Services

mKey will receive a remittances feature this month according to Finserve’s managing director Jack Ngare. The feature will be made possible through a partnership with WorldRemit while leveraging the Jenga API.

The upgrade will take advantage of the growing number of remittances to the country which stood at Sh197.12 billion in 2017 compared to Sh174.30 billion in the previous year according to the Central Bank of Kenya data.

Why Should you Use mKey for your Financial Needs?

With mobile phone penetration in the country at 95 per cent according to the Communications Authority of Kenya, mKey is the financial tool every Kenyan needs.

Firstly, the app offers a single platform where you can access credit, send money, make payments, receive remittances, and make group contributions while getting rewarded for it. What’s more, you have the option to send a reward to someone else.

Secondly, mKey works together with Equity Bank agents to help you deposit and withdraw money to and from your account. According to a CBK report, Equity Bank holds a 47 per cent share of banking agents in the country which means that mKey users will have no problem finding agents to make deposits and withdrawals.

In light of mKey’s financial features, Finserve is spearheading financial inclusion in the country by leveraging the tool Kenyans love the most: the mobile phone.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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