Interswitch, in the earlier part of 2015, acquired a controlling stake in The Paynet Group, a Kenyan-grown company that was deep into the ATM space – specifically the PesaPoint ATM Space like the one that was located in the lobby of Nakumatt Lifestyle on Monrovia Street.
This acquisition was something people would ordinarily call a foot-in-the-door for Interswitch into the Kenyan market that has seen the company become a big player in the switching as far as sending money in between banks and their customers is concerned. This new entity is big and actually did a recent re-brand just for Kenyan consumers and has already started offering stiff competition to players with traditionally more reach and years of experience like MasterCard and VISA.
Not only does Interswitch play in the ‘back-office transaction space‘ that allows you for instance – a Kenya Commercial Bank account holder to get money from an ATM say of Diamond Trust bank, but they also have plethora of ready-to-go assets geared to play in the revenue collections’ space where they are looking at diversifying their already strong cashless payments foothold into.
Payment collection services such as government and county revenue (like what KRA wants to do to become efficient like its Nigerian equivalent FIRS is doing to maximize collection and minimize fraud and loss, or what Nairobi County is doing with eJiji Pay), health sector card management, as well as management of cashless transactions for the transport sector are all things they can achieve under their portfolio. That is however on a B2B (Business-To-Business) front.
From a business (or Small and Medium Enterprise) perspective, Interswitch also has a solution, Interswitch AutoPay, which can be used for mass payments for disbursements like salaries, and wages, or even HELB (Higher Education Loans Board) cash allocations for university students which happens once every quarter or at the start of a new semester. Using AutoPay is easy because everything is managed from a single platform-dashboard that allows you to know where all your money is at any one time.
On a more single-user consumer level, Interswitch has something called the Verve Card which is quite simply a secure prepay debit card that allows you to load money and use it anywhere where there’s a POS (Point-Of-Sale) Terminal. This Verve Card was actually born locally out of a partnership that Interswitch has with Kenya Commercial Bank. It works by linking a user’s live bank account with the card and enables the specific user access to essential services such as swiping (swipe-to-pay) at terminals like at petrol stations and convenient stores, supermarkets, hotels, and anywhere else with a Point Of Sale and in the end offers ultimate convenience for anyone seeking to have plastic money to use to pay for anything.
Another interesting consumer product they have worth checking out is Interswitch WebPay – imagine you’re an individual with an online store and the process of collecting money is a headache for you whenever your customers have to pay for one of your products. Well, Interswitch WebPay allows you to integrate with various merchants and receive payments from them and on this dashboard you can also see where all your money as a seller or business is located.
All in all, Interswitch is really working hard to win businesses over to their services and when evaluated against other cashless payments service providers, they surely are raising the game. We expect them to before long have won over saccos (savings and credit cooperative societies) as well as deposit taking micro-finance institutions to become their switching backbone and let them do business seamlessly.