M-Benki vs M-Mshwari

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  • 6 years ago
  • Posted: October 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Since the launch of M-PESA banks have incorporated various products that utilize the M-PESA platform in order to avoid possible competition from the Safaricom’s product. To avoid the competion they started by being M-PESA agents, moved to integrating Bank Accounts with M-PESA via the m-banking services on mobile phones’ USSD feature, launched M-Kesho (Equity Bank), M-Shwari (CBA) and now M-Benki (KCB).

Launch of M-Benki

M-Kesho – Instead of incorporating M-PESA on its m-banking product, Equity Bank decided to partner with Safaricom and launched the M-Kesho bank account. This one is rather tedious to operate. After physically visiting the bank to open the M-Kesho account through paper work, one had to transfer money twice from the Equity ordinary account to M-PESA and vise versa. For example, to transfer money from your ordinary savings account in Equity to M-PESA, you are required to first transfer the money to the M-Kesho account then transfer the amount from the M-Kesho account to M-PESA. To transfer money from M-PESA to Equity account, you first need to transfer money from M-PESA to M-Kesho is when you can transfer the money from M-Kesho to the ordinary bank account. M-Kesho never got popular and since early this year Equity bank allowed account holders to directly transfer money from their accounts to M-PESA and to Orange Money using their eazzy 247 m-banking platform.

M-Shwari – Then Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) saw the problems with M-Kesho and in partnership with Safaricom, they introduced M-Shwari. With M-Shwari, you are not required to visit any branch to transact business. The only thing that M-PESA users were required to do at launch is to update the M-PESA menu in order to reflect M-Shwari in the menu items. Thereafter accessing the M-Shwari item in the menu gave users the prompts to open up an M-Shwari account. With M-Shwari, an M-PESA user can choose to transfer his/her M-PESA balance to the M-Shwari account and keep it there as savings to earn interest. The more you save on M-Shwari, the more you increase the amount of money that you be loaned. Withdrawing money from M-Shwari to M-PESA costs you nothing but getting a loan from M-Shwari means paying a loan processing fee of 7.5% of the loan amount. The success of M-Shwari has seen over 3 million M-PESA subscribers use the account. Over shs. 1 billion was saved over shs. 140 millions accessed as loans just within a month of commissioning M-Shwari.

M-Benki – To tap in this market, KCB has launched a product they call M-Benki. M-Benki can be said as an integration of both M-Kesho and M-Shwari. As M-Kesho, M-Benki will allow users to physically visit the bank to transact business while as M-Shwari, users can transact all businesses via mobile phones. To open up an M-Benki account, one can dial *522#, enter their national ID number, full names and follow the prompts leading to receipt of a T24 account number and a PIN for the M-Benki. Alternatively, one can go to M-PESA menu, go to payment services, choose paybill, enter 522522 as the paybill number, enter ID number as account number, enter M-PESA pin as usual and send. After opening the account one can start using it immediately by saving as little as shs. 50 into the account from M-PESA via the paybill option. Users can also withdraw into M-PESA and borrow loans. An account holder is also allowed to transact business by physically visiting a KCB branch.

So what sets M-Benki and M-Shwari apart?

  1. M-Shwari is part of M-PESA menu whereas M-Benki utilizes M-PESA’s paybill option.
  2. With M-Shwari one can never transact busises from a physical bank branch but with M-Benki one can.
  3. M-Shwari seems superior in that it is part and parcel of M-PESA menu
  4. M-Benki seems to allow normal loaning terms payable in years as opposed to M-Shwari’s monthly loan terms. This gives M-Benki superiority over M-Shwari (not yet confirmed).
  5. M-Benki serves both quick, short term and long term loans (possible according to info given to me by KCB customer care representative).
  6. M-Shwari only serves quick loans on a month by month basis.

Given that M-Benki seems to be solely a KCB product without a major involvement from Safaricom, its success will hardly match M-Shwari’s. I suppose it will be more successful compared to M-Kesho but fall short of M-Shwari’s success.

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In other news, our institutions need to embrace online presence than they have done so far. In an attempt to get much information about M-Benki from http://ke.kcbbankgroup.com, the image above was the result. I wonder why KCB provided M-Benki information to the press, go ahead to enable M-Benki Registration, yet fail to provide the relevant information on their own website. Anyone operating a website meant to provide public information ought to first avail such information on their websites, second to the media.

What is your opinion on the topic?
Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Analytics Ltd
Film Director, Tech and Business Blogger, Chess Player, and Photographer. God is Science.
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