Absa eyes bigger slice of Sh420bn in remittances

Absa Bank along Muindi Mbingu Street in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

Absa Bank Kenya has signed a deal with global payments firm Visa to allow a cross-border remittance service that allows Kenyans to send money overseas on a near real-time basis.

The deal will see Absa Bank Kenya join the growing list of financial and payment companies seeking a larger pie of the growing remittances and e-commerce market.

Absa and Visa said on Tuesday the new service will allow Absa cardholders to transfer funds from their Visa card accounts to any overseas or domestic Visa debit, credit, or prepaid cards via the Absa mobile banking application.

“The new remittance service is designed to simplify Absa customers’ remittance experience allowing them to enjoy near real-time fund transfers to friends and families overseas,” Absa Bank Kenya chief executive Jeremy Awori on Tuesday.

The Absa and Visa service has capped transactions at a maximum value of Sh1 million, for both domestic and international transactions.

Kenyans working and living abroad are now sending home four times more cash than a decade earlier, official statistics show, underlining their importance in growing national wealth.

In 2021, Kenyans living abroad sent home Sh420 billion ($3,718 million) reaffirming the sector’s dominance in earning the country foreign currency.

Speaking during the launch of the service, Visa vice president and general manager for East Africa Corine Mbiaketcha, said the firm will expand the payments ecosystem across Africa through such deals. Safaricom’s M-Pesa and Visa launched a virtual payment card early this month.

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