Move over M-Pesa, customers of a Visa-led bank partnership in Kenya will be able to send money to each other domestically without paying transaction fees using mVisa, and the payments network has added additional in-store merchant acceptance for the QR-code-based payment method.

Banking Technology‘s sister publication Paybefore reports that the partnership offering free person-to-person (P2P) transactions currently includes nine Kenyan banks that have either enabled mVisa on their mobile banking applications and/or have acquired merchants to be able to accept mVisa. These are Barclays Bank, Cooperative Bank, Ecobank, Family Bank, KCB Bank, National Bank of Kenya, NIC Bank, Prime Bank, and Standard Chartered – who will be able to send money for free. Other banks, either live or about to go live with mVisa, include Diamond Trust Bank and Stanbic.

“This is a significant move especially when you consider how much Kenyans spend on transaction fees for mobile money transfers every year. With 38.9 million active mobile phone subscriptions and KES 515.9 billion ($4.96 billion) in person-to-person money transfers within the last quarter of 2016, mobile money payments have become an integral part of Kenyans’ lives,” says Andrew Torre, group country manager for Visa Sub-Saharan Africa.

“There is a strong sense of community here with people often sending funds to family, friends and even strangers in times of need, celebration or crisis. We hope to enhance this by eliminating barriers such as transaction costs, while giving customers a convenient, secure and affordable experience. We are excited to continue to build momentum around mVisa to digitise payments with a scalable and interoperable solution that is not limited by the mobile network, bank or type of handset used.”

Consumers can use mVisa to send money directly from their bank to a recipient’s bank account regardless of whether they use a smartphone or feature phone, according to an announcement. Transactions are processed via Visa’s global network, VisaNet.

mVisa now also will be accepted at thousands of merchant locations across Kenya including Nakumatt, KenolKobil, IMAX Theaters, EatOut, Zucchini, Little Cab, Kenya Airways and Bata. The QR-code-based payment method enables acceptance without the need for merchants to invest in expensive terminals. mVisa will soon be accepted at thousands of merchants aggregated through Direct Pay Online and Jambo Pay.

mVisa is now live in Kenya, India, Rwanda and Egypt with plans to launch in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Vietnam underway.

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