Digital money transfer provider SimbaPay has added an artificial-intelligence-powered chatbot that will enable banks and other companies to offer international money transfer to customers across Africa and Europe through text messaging.

London-based SimbaPay is partnering with African technology company Interswitch to provide the chatbot and accompanying 24/7 customer service for consumers in both countries.

Smartphone user
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“We’re thrilled at the prospect of the chatbot service resolving most customer enquiries instantly at any time of day or night,” Daniel Howard, chief technology officer for SimbaPay, said in a Monday press release.

SimbaPay reached another key objective with the chatbot service in that it can operate without an internet connection, Howard said. “This means customers with a mobile phone, even a basic phone without internet access, can access the SimbaPay chatbot using SMS."

In the past, SimbaPay has focused on providing free money transfers for Nigerians living in the U.K.

Together with Interswitch, SimbaPay’s B-to-B division offers its instant remittance technology to banks and telcos.

“Interswitch is proud to be associated with a company as innovative as SimbaPay, which is continually looking to improve and expand its product offering," Paul Mwaura Ndichu, CEO of Interswitch East Africa, said in the release. "We will continue to collaborate in development of products and services that contribute to expansion of the fintech space.”

SimbaPay users will require a recipient’s phone number to send money via messaging, and the chatbot will obtain the recipient bank account or mobile money details. SimbaPay operates on any smartphone, tablet or computer.

With this launch, recipients of money transfers from SimbaPay also can choose whether to get their cash delivered to their bank account or a mobile wallet, such as M-Pesa, MTN Money or Airtel Money.

In some instances, recipients may not have a smartphone or internet data bundles or airtime credit. To address this, SimbaPay says the chatbot is accessible through free text messaging.

The company says the chatbot provides the scale to handle thousands of customer enquiries per hour. It is available and also operates on SimbaPay's social media channels, including Facebook.

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