Here is What Interswitch plans for the East African Market

Justin Larby, Business Development Manager Interswitch EastAfrica
Justin Larby,  Head of Product Development and Innovations, Interswitch EastAfrica

In Kenya, if you are looking to withdraw money from your bank account but cannot find your bank’s ATM, you are likely to look for a PesaPoint ATM to complete your transaction. PesaPoint ATMs allow users to access their bank accounts and perform transaction regardless of the bank they are using.  PesaPoint started in 2003 as one of the three brands owned by the Paynet Group. The other brands included Electronic Financial Technologies (EFT) and Paynet. PayNet Group grew through partnerships to the point of providing services to 70 financial institutions, over 2,000 companies and numerous public institutions. Its PesaPoint atms number to 1,200 with its agency network at 1,300 locations.

Earlier this year, Nigerian payments company Interswitch Transnational Holdings  acquired a majority stake in Paynet Group. The acquisition was a mixture of cash and stock with Paynet’s shareholders effectively becoming shareholders of the Interswitch Group. The acquisition was meant to give Interswitch an entry point into the East African market while, Paynet Group sought a partner with experience to allow the firm broaden  its footprint into the growing segments in the Kenyan market including  transport, health, government and county payments.

Paynet Group has since re-branded to Interswitch East Africa with former CEO taking over as CEO Interswitch East Africa. Interswitch plans to introduce some of its  product offerings into the East African market with a target at both businesses and consumers. From the B2c front, Interswitch recently unveiled the Verve Card a Prepaid debit Card in the market. The verve card launched in partnership with KCB is linked to a users bank account that allows them to make payments on POS terminals, the internet, make cash withdrawals besides offering value added services such as airtime top ups and payment of bills. The card also allows the user to accumulate royalty points for usage, which are redeemable for various items. Other B2C products likely to launch soon include Quickteller, an online, real-time utility payment and money transfer solution.

From a Business to Business (B2B) front, Interswitch targets both businesses and government with its solutions. Its Pay Direct service allows both business and government to collect revenues. This would be a big boon for county governments seeking to minimize leakages in revenue collection. AutoPay, a disbursement tool would allow merchants to disburse payments to creditors as well as allow for salary payments. From the online payment front the WebPay payment gateway would integrate with merchant websites to allow for online payments.  The end goal for the payments company is to create inter-connectivity across its offerings thus facilitating transactions within the East African market.