Kenyan micro-retail startup Tanda has launched a COVID-19 support package for MSMEs which includes a mix of 3 new services now available on its latest agent app.
Founded in 2018 by Geoffrey Mulei and Alex Wilson, ”Tanda” is Swahili for grow or spread, aims to provide access to digital financial services and affordable agency banking for the underbanked population in Kenya and the rest of East Africa.
Tanda which has 8000+ agents across Kenya turns neighbourhood ‘duka'( informal fast-moving consumer goods retailers) into agents for basic financial services for their customers. To date, Tanda is proud to have served over 300,000 unique customers and processed over 1 Million transactions and has offered a great way for shop owners to diversify their income.
The new services introduced by Tanda in its agent app to support the dukas include:
Switch from Cash to digital payments: Much of Tanda has been built around the fact that Kenya remains a huge cash economy with FMCG dukas representing the largest proportion of cash payments in Kenya (69% of all cash payments), This is partly due to a large unbanked population and expensive mobile money fees.
However, during a pandemic physical money carries increased health risks, and thus has inadvertently created the perfect timing for one of our new products. Tanda now allows shop owners to collect mobile money payments in just 3 easy steps at no cost.
Affordable Health insurance: A question on every shop owners mind is, who will cover hospital bills when they or their dependents are hospitalized? The reality is that many developing countries’ economies cannot sustain medical payments for its citizens at such a large scale, and most insurance policies will not cover COVID as most of them are not underwritten for this type of risk, despite IRA assuring policyholders that they will be covered.
Bank/Sacco Withdrawals: Tanda has partnered with Interswitch , one of Africa’s largest payments aggregators and switching provider to allow customers of over 100 financial institutions to cash out at a Tanda agent through a new cardless withdrawals product.
This will mean convenience for customers and more income for shop owners. Tanda has begun training agents on the new functionality, whilst the operations teams are working closely with these institutions to educate their customers.
‘While we are under no illusion that Covid-19 will impact micro-retailers, the fact that they serve a key market which will continue to require access to their essential services during the coming months, inspires us to support them to place them in a strong position not only to meet the challenges ahead but to capitalize on them. ” said Geoffrey Mulei, Tanda’s CEO.