Beneficiaries of the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) will now be able to receive their loans via M-Pesa after the agency partnered with Safaricom to launch a new mobile wallet hosted in its mobile money app.
The platform, which closely mirrors the now widely used mobile banking apps, has also incorporated other loanee-centred features that include loan application, repayment, status check and access to periodic statements.
All customers who have installed the M-Pesa app can access the Helb mini app under the ‘services’ section while users of feature phones will be required to dial the *642# USSD code from any network to use the platform.
Beneficiaries who have already registered their phone numbers with Helb will then key in their phone number upon, which they will receive a code to activate their mini app and set a PIN for subsequent access.
Those that are yet to register their mobile numbers with Helb will be required to key in a phone number registered with the same ID number linked to their Helb account to connect their numbers and activate the mini app.
Safaricom chief executive Peter Ndegwa hailed the innovation noting that it will bring much-needed convenience to Helb loans recipients as it will accord them easy access and management of funds.
“We are honoured to be Helb’s partner of choice to deliver innovations that meet the evolving needs of their customers in a rapidly digitising world. Through this partnership, we will build and deliver mobile and digital solutions that will further empower all beneficiaries with more convenience by enabling them to easily access and manage HELB funds and services on their mobile phone,” said Mr Ndegwa.
Helb chief executive Charles Ringera said the move is in line with the broader government agenda to digitise public services.
"With the initiative by the government to enhance digital transformation in the country through digitisation of all government services, which aims at enhancing digital competitiveness, Helb has partnered with Safaricom to offer students pursuing higher education a mobile wallet solution that will greatly enhance their experience when accessing our services,” said Mr Ringera.
The platform was launched during this year’s edition of the two-day Helb Universities Consultative Forum that is currently underway in Naivasha.
During the event, Ringera disclosed that the financial institution has since 2014 mobilised over Sh2.1 billion from external sources that include development partners, trust funds, and foundations among others, to supplement government allocation, a move that has seen over 55,000 beneficiaries who would have otherwise missed out on funding get support.
“Helb began its external resource mobilisation journey in 2013-14 aimed at sourcing funds outside the exchequer to supplement government funding. To date Helb has mobilised over Sh2.1 billion from 40 partners which has gone into supporting over 55,000 beneficiaries who would have otherwise dropped out of funding,” he said.