KCB in talks to launch Apple Pay and Google Pay in Kenya

Apple Pay
Paying for a coffee with Apple Pay. Photo: Wikimedia Commons / mybloodtypeiscoffee

Kenya’s biggest bank KCB (Kenya Commercial Bank), is holding discussions with companies including Apple and Google parent company Alphabet about collaborating on digital payments through its new financial-technology unit, known as KCB Fintech, according to Chief Executive Officer Joshua Oigara.

The talks are part of the bank’s target to double the number of customers on its mobile-phone platform to 20 million by the end of 2017.

Kenya is East Africa’s biggest economy and its banks are scrambling for market share in digital transactions. In the first three months of the year, 25 million mobile-money subscribers spent Ksh312 billion on goods and services, according to data compiled by the Communications Authority of Kenya.

After the government put pressure on margins by capping lending rates, lenders have been seeking new sources of revenue.

According to Oigara, KCB is doubling capacity on its mobile-phone systems, allowing it to process 600 transactions per second by next year.

KCB is also in talks with Paypal Holdings Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and Twitter Inc. with KCB Fintech officially beginning operations in June 2017.