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Finserve Africa Limited



  • Organization TypeIndependent/None, Service Providers
  • Founded2014
Finserve Africa Limited (trading as Equitel) is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in Kenya. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Equity Group Holdings Limited and is using the Airtel Kenya network as its carrier. Equitel is a new revolutionary platform that helps you manage your money and communicate with more Freedom, Choice and Control. Equitel provides tools and features that enable you to perform all your financial transactions as well as make calls, send SMS and browse the internet. For over three decades, Equity bank has earned a solid reputation as the “people’s bank”. They continue in this tradition by finding new ways to make your life easier.  History: Equity Bank, through its subsidiary Finserve Africa Limited, received its MVNO Licence on 11 April 2014, along with Tangaza Money and Zioncell Kenya. All which would run on Airtel Kenya's network, a move that was opposed by the Consumer Federation of Kenya, Safaricom and Telkom Kenya For the Bank, the move was aimed at lowering their transaction costs by up to 47% as well as an added revenue stream by providing money transfer service and other telco services to their 8.7 million customers. Due to the requirement to have a SIM card to access the service, users would therefore need an additional mobile phone or Dual SIM phone. Equity Bank overcame this challenge by adopting the use of 0.1 millimetres thick ultra-slim SIM cards from Taisys Solutions, using technology originally developed in China. The ultra-slim SIM cards are placed at the back of normal SIM cards therefore tackling this challenge effectively. This ultra-slim SIM cards would also come with Near Field Communication (NFC) capability that enables them to be swiped on the point of sale devices or ATM thus converting a mobile phone into a credit or debit card. Market leader Safaricom wrote to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) challenging the use of ultra-slim SIM cards stating that they could expose their subscribers to intercepted communication and financial fraud on M-Pesa service. Despite this, Finserve Africa were granted a one-year trial period. On 22 September 2014, Safaricom stated that it would review its legal commitments to M-Pesa customers who opt to use the Equitel overlay SIM cards. In addition, the CCK required Finserve Africa to make a written undertaking to compensate mobile phone subscribers for any losses they may incur during the one-year trial of its thin SIM, putting to test the company’s assertion that the technology is safe. On 14 October 2014, Equity Bank Kenya started issuing ordinary SIM cards for telecommunication and mobile banking services to its 8.7 million customers across the country.

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