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Munich Personal RePEc Archive

E-Money and Deposit Insurance in Kenya

Defina, Ryan and Van Roosebeke, Bert and Manga, Paul (2021): E-Money and Deposit Insurance in Kenya. Published in: International Association of Deposit Insurers Fintech Brief

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Abstract

E-money is widespread in Kenya, especially through MPESA, a form of e-money stored on mobile phones and issued by Safaricom, a mobile network operator (MNO). Integration between the MPESA platform and the traditional banking system is increasing. Given the very high use-grade of MPESA throughout the population, it has reached critical importance in Kenya.

In Kenya, e-money issuers must back their e-value with bank balances at commercial banks (float), through trust accounts. Deposit insurance does not cover a default of the e-money issuer. However, the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation aims at offering pass-through coverage in case of a default of the deposit-taking commercial bank holding the trust accounts.

Pass-through coverage is confronted with a number of challenges, including regarding data on the identity of e-money users and their balances held. Also, the critical importance of MPESA raises questions as to how to deal with a potential default of the MNO and the role of deposit insurance in such a scenario. Looking forward, there is merit in further coordination amongst safety net participants as well as in the management of trust accounts and the strengthening of data-availability requirements to e-money issuers.

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