Right at your village, you can now do all the transactions you need using your KCB account. Also, using your smart phone or computer connected to internet you can access all the KCB e-banking services.
Taking advantage of technology revolution in Rwanda, KCB Bank Rwanda Limited, is now offering branchless banking services throughout the 30 districts of Rwanda under the banner “KCB Iwacu”…meaning KCB in your neighborhood; commonly referred to as “Agency Banking”. It is new. It is exciting. It is innovative—where the bank has entered into a partnership with 135 outlets across the country at community level to offer banking services on behalf of the bank at a minimal fee. The KCB Iwacu Agent- is a person who has been contracted to transact business on behalf of the bank (KCB) and all these persons must be in business.
In a press briefing recently during the “KCB Iwacu” launch at Golden Hills Hotel in Kiyovu, Kigali the Managing Director Maurice K. Toroitich announced that by end of this year, at least 400 outlets of “KCB Iwacu” will have been opened across the country, depending on the needs of customers.
Largely, financial inclusion in Africa and Rwanda in particular is still low mainly because there is limited penetration by banks and other financial institutions. More so, there is perception of a high cost of accessing financial services, and many people find formal banking intimidating. The Government of Rwanda has an ambitious target of 80% financial inclusion by year 2020. Only 21% of an estimated 10million Rwandans have access to banking services, while 26% have access informal banking facilities. To this end, KCB, after a few years in the competitive Rwanda financial sector has introduced “KCB Iwacu” to bring about convenience in banking where its customers can access all its services next door in their respective residences and/or business locations at any time. This is augmented with innovative e-banking services under the KCB Connect platform where customers access services from any point on earth via internet connection. This allows 24/7 uninterrupted banking services and enhances a cashless economy that Rwanda envisages to create.
Mr. Toroitich believes that the minimal cost for accessing “KCB Iwacu” services is far less than the cost that customers are currently incurring in visiting branches to access banking services or the cost of not having any access to financial services.
Innovation to Your Convenience
Additionally, in order to support this service, the bank has upgraded the mobile phone banking platform. Ms Gloria Nyambok, KCB Head of Retail Banking announced the new mobile phone banking platform- which is considered to be the first of its kind in the region, and perhaps in Africa. It is incorporating an internet-based option for smart phone holders, which means that it does not matter who the mobile phone service provider is. But, bearing in mind that not everyone has access to a phone, the system has Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) based banking; offering for users who may not have access to smart phones. (USSD) is a protocol used by GSM cellular telephones to communicate with the service provider, while internet based operations are used by the GPRS- which both can be accessed by anyone anywhere in the region and the world. Each of this is internet based and very easy to use and the exciting part is that this system can be accessed by any bank account in Rwanda at anytime. You can send money from one account to another through the agent, between the accounts using the phone or even create a list of fixed beneficiaries (payments) so that you do not have to repeat the account numbers every time you use the software. Also other phone transactions can be accessible, such as airtime (phone credit/talk time), banks statements, exchange rates, etc
The software works well in three languages- French, English and Kinyarwanda. With the GPRS embedded system, a client can also search for the nearest KCB agent, or branch in their locality.
The new mobile phone banking platform integrates with KCB’s payment systems thus offering the option of direct interbank payments. As such, this service is now available and accessible anywhere in the world as long as the phone has an internet link or as long as a customer has access to a telephone link registered with KCB.
Access to KCB Services: Bank to Start Issuing Visa Cards
As though KCB Iwacu comes to ensure that the bank’s services are more accessible to its clients, a lot of investment has also gone into expanding the network of (KCB) branches across the country. Mr. Toroitich said the bank is adding more branches this year to support the Agency Banking system. “An additional branch in Gisozi in Kigali and another in Kayonza in the Eastern Province this year will bring the total branch network to 12 branches,” he said. In addition, the bank will also deploy at least 10 new ATMs this year, to add to the current ATM network of 14, making it 24 ATMs in total. KCB ATMs are being upgraded to accept both deposits and withdraws. Currently, all ATMs in Rwanda only have the withdraw option and not the deposit option.
The good news for KCB clients is that they will soon (this year) start using Visa-branded Debit cards. The cards will be issued free of charge, according to Mr. Toroitich. “This will give our clients the much desired financial freedom to transact business on Visa branded ATM’s”.
With the 400 community-based (KCB Iwacu) Agents in Rwanda plus over 222 KCB Branches and 924 ATM points in East Africa, the bank will be well positioned to offer convenient banking services to every individual and business in Rwanda and the region at an affordable cost and great convenience.
Burundi: Here We Come!
Taking advantage of the conducive investment climate in the region, KCB will soon spread its tentacles to Burundi. “We would like to also announce that within the next one month, KCB will also be present in Burundi and this will further position the bank as an unrivalled East African financial institution” Toroitich revealed.
This will then make KCB a well placed regional player in the five countries of East Africa and Southern Sudan.