BK unveils new account to mobile-phone transfer service


Customers queu to get service in a banking hall at Bank of Kigali. (File)

Bank of Kigali has unveiled a new service dubbed ‘BK-Money’ which allows customers to transfer money from their bank accounts to a receiver on any registered mobile phone number in the country. 

The service also enables non BK customers to visit any BK agent/ MobiBank or Branch and send money to any mobile number in Rwanda.

It is the latest example of the deepening convergence between telecom and banking services, which is now a global trend.

With the ever changing technology, analysts note that banks, globally, are in the race of their lives to ‘adapt or die.’

In Rwanda, Bank of Kigali, the industry leaders, appear to be enjoying a comfortable lead in the race owing to, among others, the financial guru’s vast resources with now close to 70 percent of its services being technology delivered. The new race to integrate mobile technology into banking has ignited life in a sector that serves only 26 percent of the country’s total population that according to Finscope’s latest survey has access to financial services.

Analysts believe that by embracing technology, banks have chosen the right route to achieve deeper penetration and reach more Rwandans especially those in the countryside.

‘BK-Money’ will be delivered to customers through the Bank of Kigali’s vast branch and agency banking network, according to Kizito Okute, in charge of projects coordination at the Bank.

“The Bank has introduced this service to enable our clients make use of the extensive agency and branch network to send and receive money on any mobile network in Rwanda,” he said.

To analysts, Bank of Kigali’s new innovation is a clever business strategy move that will tap into the rapid growth of mobile phone usage in Rwanda estimated to be over 8.7 million as of end of January, according to the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority.

It means bank account holders with Bank of Kigali can use the BK-Money platform to send money to any of the eight million active mobile phone numbers, regardless of whether they have a mobile money account or not.

The Bank charges a small fee for those sending; however, BK-Money receivers will not be charged to withdraw the cash.

“On receiving BK-Money, customers can simply go to any of our branches, BK-Yacu agents or the Mobile bank vans (BK MobiBank) where they present a 4-digit passcode before making the withdraw,” said Okute adding that the recipient passcode expires after thirty days.

However, Kizito explained that even after expiry, one can still process the transaction by calling BK’s customer service or visiting one of the branches.

According to the Bank, customers will also be delighted to find that the cost of making a transfer through BK-Money is lower than what they are charged when they use other platforms especially considering that receiving/withdrawing BK Money is free for all.

BK-Money might appear to be after eating into the Telecom-run Mobile Money cake, but that is not the case as Bank of Kigali has also recently unveiled another product called Push-Pull, in collaboration with the two leading telecom firms, MTN and TIGO.

The collaboration enables Mobile Money users on both MTN and TIGO platforms to move digital-cash from their mobile wallets to their bank accounts or from the bank account to the mobile wallet.

And with the new products, Bank of Kigali is expected to stay ahead of its rivals in the game of using technology to deliver innovative services to customers in an increasingly competitive industry.