Equity Bank's Equitel To Be Rolled Out Throughout East Africa

Equity Group plans to roll out its mobile platform ‘Equitel’ to all markets it operates within East Africa.

Equitel is a mobile platform where Equity bank customers can access both banking and telecom services from voice, data and SMS. The banking services include sending, receiving and withdrawing money using your phone, receiving diaspora remittances directly to your account and accessing them on a mobile phone, loans, insurance, investments, internet banking and cross border money transfer services.

The firm is in talks to partner with Telcos in Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Democratic Republic of Congo to roll out Equitel in those markets.

With mobile phones becoming a delivery terminal of choice within the region, it has become a necessity for businesses to tap into the diversity mobile has to offer.

“We have formed partnerships with mobile network operators so that we can leverage on their infrastructure without having to incur the cost of infrastructure. That leaves the bank with a lean and low cost infrastructure, while at the same time enhancing the sticking ability on the Mobile Virtual Network Operator and significantly reducing their problems in terms of users,” Equity Group CEO James Mwangi said during the announcement.

The company hopes to replicate its success in Kenya in the entire East African region.

According to the latest quarterly statistics from the Communications Authority of Kenya, transactions worth KES 44.7 million (US$442,000) were processed through Equitel, up from KES 42.7 million (US$420,000) in its first three months of 2015. The overall figure at the end of the first quarter of 2016, Equitel subscribers had transacted KES 62.5 billion (US$600 million) while the value of loans stood at KES 14.1Billion (US$130 million) over the same period.

Equitel, which launched in July 2015, now has two million active users in Kenya.

The bank has also started offering its clients on Equitel loans to buy smartphones. The bank launched the loans offer for smartphones promotion to enable customers buy dual line phones, which they will be required to repay within a year. Equity Group has partnered with Samsung and Alcatel for this project, which will see the phones available for sale at all Equity outlets.