Banks, through the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), plan to push for a return of transaction charges between mobile and banking wallets following a dip in fees and commissions from the transaction waivers. The association says that easing of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy would allow for reinstatement of the charges in 2022.
“We may think of lobbying for a review next year if we are convinced that we are sufficiently out of the woods,” says KBA CEO Habil Olaka. “2021 was very unpredictable when we thought we had gotten out we saw new waves picking up, new restrictions being introduced and even now we do not know how Omicron variants will turn out.”
Earlier, KCB CEO Joshua Oigara expressed his support for wither full or discounted reinstatement of the charges, saying the increased volume of digital transactions could more than compensate for discounted rates.
“This is a good opportunity to look at the charges. I don’t see the charges going back to the levels they were before [the pandemic]. We see a discounted level of charges on the mobile transactions,” said the CEO. “A number of players have led the way with reduced charges. I believe the volume acceleration can more than compensate for discounted rates.”
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) introduced waivers for transaction charges between mobile banking and bank wallets in March 2020 in an effort to boost digital transactions. While the move was a respite for Kenyans facing tough economic times because of the pandemic, it cut down revenues for both lenders and mobile money service providers. In April 2021, CBK resumed transaction charges for transactions above Ksh 100 effected through inhouse bank wallets linked to SACCOs to allow the organisations to maintain viability of the transfer service.