First introduced in Kenya, Standard Chartered’s Straight2Bank digital wallet allows companies to make cashless payments to the MTN Mobile Money wallets of both banked and unbanked individuals.
The partnership with MTN will expand the service in Africa, making it the sixth country in Africa where Straight2Bank is available.
The mobile payment channel allows the bank’s corporate clients in Uganda to make payments directly into an individual’s MTN Mobile Money wallet, enabling fast payments while diminishing the risks of fraud and theft associated with cash payments.
“The Ugandan government is working toward a cashless economy, to maximize operational efficiencies and mitigate the risks associated with cash payments,” said Standard Chartered CEO Herman Kasekende. “Standard Chartered remains committed to creating partnerships [that] not only enhance the local financial sector’s proposition and infrastructure, but also improve our customers’ experience and operational efficiencies.”
Standard Chartered might have another partnership on the horizon. Last month, it was reported that Barclays is looking at inking a merger deal with an international bank or banks, with Standard Chartered among the potential targets.
John McFarlane, the chairman of Barclays, reportedly likes the idea of a merger with Standard Chartered, an idea that was also backed by Sir Gerry Grimstone, the chair of the bank’s international unit. In talks between a director at each bank, they discussed the potential deal’s benefits to both banks.
“John [McFarlane] has a real affinity for Standard Chartered,” one of the sources told Financial Times. “It would be logical, but I’d be very surprised if anything came of it.”
However, regulators would require that both Barclays and Standard Chartered have more capital because they are systemically important banks, which would make a merger more difficult.
“The capital impediment is quite difficult. It makes any deal really hard to do,” said an adviser. “Banks are still quite risk-averse, as the scars from the crisis are still very deep.”