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Standard Bank plans Africa mobile money revolution

JOHANNESBURG – STANDARD Bank has introduced a digital platform amid rave reviews it will disrupt the mobile money status quo in Africa.

The “Unayo” platform is hailed as combining the simplicity of mobile money with the sophistication of a bank account, aiming to connect Africa’s informal market to financial services in an easily accessible manner.

Unayo transactions are free or attract nominal charges.

“Unayo” translates to “You have it” in some African languages.

It is live in Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho and eSwatini, with broader country deployments to follow at a date not yet announced.

South African-headquartered Standard Bank estimates that it will facilitate up to 90 percent of Africa’s payments through Unayo.

In the first quarter of 2021, it processed over 60 000 customer-initiated transactions, the bank disclosed.

“Anyone with a cell phone number, agnostic of the mobile network operator, and handset technology, can receive value through the use of the Unayo solution and become part of the financial world,” commented Wally Fisher, Head of Unayo at Standard Bank.

Available from the Google Play, the iOS App Store or Hauwei Gallery, the offering is primarily supported by Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD).

A key feature of Unayo is the self-onboarding process.

There are no geographical restrictions or need to present documentation or a paper-bound Know Your Customer (KYC) process.

Users can also opt for additional identification features such as facial recognition.

Fisher believes Unayo has immense potential, particularly in an informal market.

“Unayo essentially solves for the higher and lower ends of the market value chain, by stimulating economic activity between the two ends, which will develop the economy,” Fisher concluded.

– CAJ News

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