Equity introduces Sh2.26 SMS charge

Equity Bank Kenya is set to earn hundreds of millions of shillings from the introduction of a transaction confirmation alert fee of Sh2.26.

The lender, which has more than 10 million customers in the country, introduced the new charge for each short message service (SMS) on Monday.

“We have introduced a standard SMS charge of Sh2.26, effective 24th April. The charge applies to mobile and online transaction confirmation alerts,” the bank said in a notice to customers

The new fee is set to boost the lender’s non-interest income, coming after the bank introduced an annual debit card fee of Sh240 in 2021.

The card fee stands to earn the bank upwards of Sh2 billion per year, assuming most of the issued cards are active.

Equity saw its total non-interest income in Kenya grow to Sh27.5 billion in the year ended December, up from Sh22.8 billion a year earlier.

This included fees and commissions –not related to loans— which jumped to Sh7.5 billion from Sh6.7 billion.

Other banks charging customers to receive message alerts include Co-operative Bank of Kenya (Sh42) and Absa Bank Kenya (Sh5).

Commercial banks re-introduced charges at the start of the year for bank-to-mobile transactions, a move expected to boost earnings.

The CBK temporarily stopped the charges to lower the risk of Covid-19 infections by encouraging cashless transactions.

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