Photograph — Financial Tribune

Okapi Finance, a Sweden-based money transfer company operating in Kenya, sees the rising cost of mobile money transfers in Kenya as a challenge and is determined to tackle it. Through the SWAP service, Okapi customers will be able to send and receive up to K Sh20,000 per transaction, five times a day to other Okapi customers free of charge.

This service can be accessed through authorised agents, the Okapi website or through the mobile app which is available on Android and IOS mobile operating systems. Regular customers can receive money through an Okapi agent while premium customers, who own a Visa card can receive money through their Okapi account or their Visa card. Any Visa cardholder can enrol as an Okapi Visa user and will be able to carry out transactions from Visa card to Visa card.

The company which is on a mission to bank the unbanked by active participation in financial inclusion provides its customers with a history of their transactions on the platform. Customers can then use this to apply for loans when they meet the necessary requirements.

Making a deposit or withdrawal to and from an Okapi account can be done only through an Okapi authorised agent. Customers are able to make free deposits, which can be completed by providing a valid national identification document.

Other than sending and receiving money, users can also buy insurance from Okapi partner insurance companies, pay premiums and file for claims. Once claims are approved, the money is sent directly to the customer’s Okapi account. Companies can also make use of the Okapi corporate customers service to receive payments and disburse payments such as salaries.

Kenya’s mobile money market already has Safaricom’s M-Pesa and multinationals such as IBM and MasterCard operating actively. M-Pesa rolled out increased tariffs for using the service after the government proposed a two percent increase on the excise duty charged on service providers. However, Okapi’s continued success is more or less hinged on its ability to leverage on the low cost of its transactions, in addition to other benefits which the SWAP service is set to introduce.

The money transfer company currently boasts over 100,000 customers in Kenya and targets 145 million global customers in the next 5 years as it finalises plans to begin international transfers.

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