Family Bank, SimbaPay Launches Instant Money Transfer From Kenya to China Over WeChat


Kenya’s Family Bank along with London-based fintech company SimbaPay, have launched an instant money transfer service for users of Kenyan mobile money service M-Pesa to send money to China through WeChat.

SimbaPay developed a third-party payment aggregator that enables funds delivery between Kenyan merchants and their largest source of imports, China. Through SimbaPay’s international money transfer service, merchants and individuals in Kenya would be able to send money to China’s WeChat Pay users from Family Bank’s PesaPap mobile banking application. This can be achieved through M-Pesa and a USSD service (*325# in Kenya).

Non-customers too will enjoy the service via a dedicated PayBill number 261059 on MPESA.

This service targets about 7 million small and medium sized Kenyan businesses who purchase Chinese goods (phones, electronics, gadgets, etc). It allows for a faster and less expensive money transfer option between Kenya and China through the Tencent-owned WeChat social media platform.

For example transferring the equivalent of $80 will attract a service charge of $3.50. Compared to other traditional transfer services this is a significant reduction of fees for Kenyan traders who import from China.

Before the transfer, a sender will be able to review the transaction and check exchange rates before its converted to Chinese yuan.

Speaking on the development, Family Bank Chief Operations Officer, Mr. Godfrey Kamau, says

“This is a huge milestone for us and our customers. We are glad to extend, more so to our SME customers, a solution that offers an instant, reliable, traceable and affordable channel to send money to their suppliers and business partners in China.”

On his own part, SimbaPay co-founder Sagini Onyancha said, “Kenya imports about $4 billion goods from China. That’s the total market that we’re getting into. We’re looking at a single digit market share of the transactional volume around that.”

This is not the first cross border transfer initiative by SimbaPay. The London-based company supports more cost-effective and efficient transfer of funds across Africa and Asia (11 countries – 9 African, 2 Asian). These are Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ghana, Madagascar, Niger, India and now China.

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