Kenya says Flutterwave, Chipper Cash not licensed to operate

The Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) on Thursday said African Fintech companies Flutterwave and Chipper Cash are not licensed to operate remittance and payment services in the East African country.

Compliance with regulation has impacted tech companies over the past few months, and affected cross-border payments, US Dollar virtual payments and other card processing functions.

Chipper Cash and Flutterwave have been singled out by Patrick Njoroge, Governor of the CBK, for not having operator permits.

Kenya, which is delaying launch of a central bank digital currency, is considered to be a major growth market for mobile-based remittances from abroad, according to the country’s Reserve Bank.

"Flutterwave is not licenced to operate as a remittance provider or payments service provider in Kenya,” said Njoroge at a press conference following a meeting of the CBK’s Monetary Policy Committee in Nairobi. “They are not licenced to operate and therefore, they should not be operating and I think Chipper Cash, we could also say the same," he added.

Chipper Cash enables the sending and receiving of money across African borders using its mobile application. Flutterwave is a digital payments platform that also offers remittances and works with banks.

Earlier this month, bank accounts run by Flutterwave were frozen by Kenyan authorities who suspect the Fintech’s platforms are being used for money laundering.

The company dismissed the claims as entirely false - although a Kenyan court has proceeded to endorse the freezing of three Flutterwave accounts with funds amounting to about US$43-million in various currencies.

In the past few weeks, MasterCard blacklisted Union54, a card processing application programing interface used by regional Fintechs to issue virtual and physical credit and debit cards.

In Zimbabwe, the central bank has also shut down mobile money platform Innbucks, used by locals to send and receive US Dollars, as well as pay at fast food outlets nationally, for not having an operator's license.

Read more