Written by Enock Balakasi
Airtel Malawi and First Merchant Bank (FMB) have struck a landmark mobile money agreement, which has seen the merging of Airtel Money with the bank’s electronic as well as normal business-hour services.
Under the agreement, Airtel Money users will now be able to cash out or withdraw money from FMB ATMs at any time with the bank’s customers also able to move money from their bank accounts into their Airtel Money accounts or deposit cash into their FMB accounts without visiting the bank’s branches.
Announcing the partnership at Airtel Malawi head office in Lilongwe on Wednesday, FMB Chief Executive Officer Fernando Rodrigues and Airtel Managing Director Charles Kamoto said Airtel Money agents and customers as well as FMB customers stood to benefit from the agreement.
Said Rodrigues: “This is a service that will allow Airtel Money agents to purchase e-value from any FMB branch. We have put in place dedicated counters for agents in our branches and once payment is made, e-value will automatically be loaded into the agent’s e-wallet.”
Apart from the linking of FMB customers’ bank accounts with their mobile/Airtel money accounts, the FMB boss unveiled another revolutionary service, which will see Airtel Money users cashing out from the bank’s ATM’s 24/7 without using an ATM card.
“For today, people do not need to worry about agents not having cash or their shops being closed as their will be able to redeem Airtel Money from any FMB ATM 24/7,” he said.
On his part , Airtel Malawi Managing Director Charles Kamoto said his company was excited with the partnership, which described as another major step towards financial inclusion.
“As a mobile money service provider, we continue to make strides and be in the forefront of the financial inclusion agenda through the provision of mobile-oriented financial services that are safe, secure and convenient for both the banked and unbanked Malawian masses. The partnership between Airtel and FMB is not only relevant but enriching,” said Kamoto.
With the innovations, the Airtel MD said customers would now have more reasons to embrace Airtel Money and FMB banking services.
Airtel Malawi has 15,000 agents across the country while FMB has 66 ATMs respectively.