With total savings growing by more than 30% in the last three months alone, Timiza Akiba is proving to be a safe and accessible option to help Tanzanians save their hard-earned cash – simply, safely and easily, using their mobile phones.
Launched just under two years ago, through a partnership with Airtel, Letshego Bank Tanzania and financial technology company JUMO, Timiza Akiba is Tanzania’s first fee-free, interest-bearing mobile money savings account. With the initial aim to drive a savings culture among the people of Tanzania and help them reach their business or personal financial goals, the dynamic partnership is showing signs of sustained success.
Timiza Akiba allows Airtel customers to set up a savings account and save any amount from TSH 100 up to TSH 5 Million directly from their mobile phones, without having to handle cash or travel to a bank. The funds are managed by Letshego Bank Tanzania and those customers who manage to avoid spending their savings, receive a monthly sum as a reward for their commitment towards reaching their financial buffer, or goal. Timiza Akiba’s reward is calculated as a percentage of total savings on a balance of any size, and supports national government mandates to encourage and support the growth and development of the local savings culture. Withdrawals are, however, accessible and available at any time with no transaction costs, in the event of an unexpected expense or emergency. Timiza Akiba is available to all Airtel Tanzania customers, and accessible via Airtel’s Money Menu, simply by dialling *150*60#, then selecting 6, 1 and 3.
Airtel Tanzania makes Timiza Akiba available to all Airtel Money customers through their mobile network and USSD functionality which works with any feature phone and doesn’t require access to data. “We are committed to using innovation and technology to advance financial inclusion for all Tanzanians. Timiza Akiba enables our customers to save for a purpose and with confidence at a time when we all need to curtail our luxury spending. The savings product runs on mobile money so deposits and withdrawals can be made digitally and safely,” says Isack Nchunda, Airtel Tanzania Airtel Money Director.
Timiza Akiba’s banking partner Letshego Bank Tanzania, is a member of the 11-country strong pan-African Group, listed in Botswana and Namibia. Letshego Bank Tanzania’s Acting Chief Executive, Andrew Tarimo, added, “Letshego is committed to streamlining and simplifying access to financial solutions for emerging consumers across Tanzania, and most especially, supporting our customers through the current economic challenges as a result of the pandemic. Timiza Akiba’s digital partnership is a secure and rewarding way to save money for when you need it most.”
JUMO builds and operates short-term, structured and long-term financial products, such as Timiza Akiba for emerging markets. “Our technology stack reduces unit economics on the delivery and administration of financial services so that partners can reach new markets and customers can access high value products,” says JUMO’s Africa CEO, Buhle Goslar. “Our partnership with Airtel and Letshego Bank Tanzania has reduced the barriers to access to savings significantly and it’s encouraging to see how Timiza Akiba has grown, especially in recent months.”
In March 2020, total assets under management for Timiza Akiba hit a record high, increasing 32% in just three months from December 2019. This growth is largely due to an increase in the number and value of customer deposits for March 2020 and the amount of active customers increasing 9% in the month of March, compared to the most recent 6-month average. This indicates that an increasing number of Tanzanians are choosing to save, where possible, at this uncertain time where their business operations or income streams are likely to be interrupted.