Barclays launches ‘Timiza’ for SMEs

Barclays Bank on Friday launched Timiza, a virtual banking service targeting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The service, accessible via USSD or a mobile application, is part of the bank’s five year strategy to offer faster, cheaper and more efficient banking by going digital.

Speaking at the launch in Nairobi, the Barclays Bank Managing Director, Jeremy Awori said Timiza is new way of investing by the bank to reach more customers where people do not need to have an existing Barclays account. You can bank with Timiza regardless of the time and place, he added.

According to Awori, over 50 percent of people prefer to transact money using their mobile phones hence the move to launch of Timiza.

The Barclays Bank Head of Virtual Banking, Andrew Muthigam said that Timiza distinguishes itself from similar products in that it also offers a taxi hailing service, personal accident and funeral insurance covers among other additional benefits.

Customers can access instant loans of up to S50, 000 without collateral or presenting audited bank statements. The bank uses other proxies such as M-pesa and Credit Reference Bureau records to determine a client’s financial potential, said Muthiga.

We bring in investors with higher risk appetite and have come up with attractive interests rates as low as 6.17 percent on repayment of loans on Timiza, he added.

Muthiga further stated that the bank not only addresses the challenge on growth and scaling in small businesses but also aims to balance automating routine every day transactions with face to face interactions to cater for wiser customer preferences.

The Safaricom Consumer Business Unit Director, Sylvia Mulinge expressed confidence that the companies were now adapting to change by understanding human behaviour and going digital thus increasing their customer base and at the same time solving societal problems.

Barclays has partnered with Safaricom and Craft Silicon to target at least 5 million customers with their virtual banking platform Timiza in the next five years.

According to the Bank, they are working with both the government and corporates to commercialize good ideas through solutions such as growth funding to fund businesses in their growth stage.

The service, which could be accessed by dialing the USSD code *848#, would also be rolled out in partnership with telecommunication companies across other African markets.

Source: Kenya News Agency