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How Equitel Kenya Works, Its Charges and Internet Settings

Updated on December 19, 2016
Jan Saints profile image

Januaris is a professional tech writer and blogger. He blogs about ecommerce, hardware and software fixes, video games, and product reviews.

Touted as the most efficient mobile banking system in Kenya, Equitel comes with a myriad of pleasing phone and financial services. The platform belongs to the Equity Bank's subsidiary, Finserve Africa Ltd (mobile virtual network operator), and run on Airtel (mobile phone service provider).

But what exactly is Equitel?

Equitel is a mobile banking service which allows customers to access telecom and banking services. Telecom services include voice, SMSs, data & more while banking services include money transfer (by phone), loans, insurance, investments and more.

service logo
service logo | Source

How Equitel Works

The mobile banking platform is based on the new SIM Card Technology. The service provider offers both the normal SIM card and the thin SIM card which turns your single-SIM phone into a dual-SIM one.

The SIM cards are available to all customers of Equity Bank. The normal card is available for free, but the slim one comes at an affordable fee. If you are not a customer of the bank, you can open an account with them and enjoy this service.

As of August 2015, the SIM cards had two mobile number prefixes: 0763 and 0764. The former is already used up and the latter will not take long before it gets exhausted. Yeah, the service is in high demand.

You need to activate your new line to start enjoying the mobile and banking services. Visit your nearest Equity branch or agent to register your line first. You will also need to update your SIM toolkit to access more services.

Dial *247# to activate your line. Enter your PIN and select Link Equitel. You will receive this message “Link Equitel to Mobile Banking was successful” and an activation code. Open your Equitel SIM Tool Kit (STK) and enter the code, then reset your PIN. If you get this message, “Dear customer your mobile banking application has been activated”, then you are good to go.

How to Use Equitel

If you have already used another mobile money service like M-Pesa, Orange Money, Yu Cash or Airtel Money, you will not have any major difficulties using Equitel. The mobile money menu is just like these existing mobile money platforms.

The menu is available in English or Kiswahili and is well detailed. This means that most people can use the service. From calling other numbers and accessing the internet to applying for loans and stopping cheques, you can use this service to execute a wide range of mobile and banking tasks. This subtopic is expanded below.

Equitel Services

Equitel services are many and are categorized into three: Money, Phone and Life. The services are designed to help manage your money better, communicate with more freedom and browse the internet for cheap.

services | Source

- Money (Transactions)

Carry out your financial transactions more efficiently with the Money tools. Access your bank accounts from anywhere, anytime. Save for your future plans and goals with this tool. Services under Money include:

  • Send money to another line.
  • Send money to a bank account.
  • Pay bills.
  • Pay for goods and services.
  • Buy airtime for Equitel and other networks.
  • Save money on your account.
  • Get an Eazzy loan.
  • Check mini-statement.
  • Stop a card or cheque.*
  • Request a cheque book.*

- Phone (Calls, SMS & Data)

Change your mobile phone experience for the better with this tool. The following are the services under Phone:

  • Make voice calls (locally and internationally).
  • Send SMS (locally and internationally).
  • Make and receive calls while abroad.
  • Send and receive SMS while abroad.
  • Check your airtime balance.
  • Buy and check data bundles.
  • Use data to access the mobile internet.
  • Use data while abroad (available upon request, in selected countries).
  • Top up airtime on your Equitel line or any other phone including other networks.
  • Contact customer care.

- Life (Internet & Content)

This tool allows you get access to useful and informative content on your phone. Enjoy entertaining digital content and boost the quality of your life and enhance your experience.

  • Maternal health content - Personalized information for expectant and new mums.
  • Financial literacy - Learn how to manage your money and attain financial freedom.
  • Wikipedia – Access Wikipedia content for free.
  • Wings to fly learning – High school students can access free learning materials.
  • Facebook – Dial *769# and connect with your friends and family.

Equitel Charges

Equitel is cheaper than other mobile and banking services in Kenya. The charges keep on changing, which means that you can pay more or less at certain times. Some mobile money platforms like M-Pesa are imposing fines to the users of this platform. So you may pay higher when using this service alongside other mobile money services.

-Equitel charges for mobile services

  • Buy airtime – No charges.
  • Check account balance – No charges.
  • Change PIN – No charges.
  • Purchase data bundles – No charges.
  • Calls

- Kshs. 2/minute to Equitel.
- Kshs. 4/minute to other networks.
- KShs. 4/minute within East Africa.

  • SMS – KShs.1/minute (all networks).

On how to top up or load airtime, do the following:

  • Click "SIM Tool Kit and Choose Airtel."
  • Click "My Phone or My Money."
  • Click "Buy Airtime/Bundles."
  • From Your Bank Account
  • Click "Buy Airtime"
  • For This Line
  • Enter amount
  • Confirm

-Equitel Charges for banking services

  • Send money to your own Equity account – No charges.
  • Send money to other Equity accounts – 1% of the transaction value, maximum of Kshs.25.
  • Send money to non-registered phone numbers - 1% of the transaction value, maximum of KShs.25.
  • Send money to other mobile money accounts - 1% of the transaction value, maximum of KShs.25 + KShs.10 termination fee.
  • Send money to other banks - 1% of the transaction value, maximum of KShs.25 + KShs.10 termination fee.
  • Pay bill/pay for goods & services – 1% of the transaction value, maximum of KShs.25.
  • Withdraw money from Equitel agent, ATM or branch - Normal Equity bank withdrawal fees which depend on the transaction and channel used.
  • Pay Eazzy Loan - 2% per month interest rate.

-Charges for Equitel data or internet

  • 5 MB for KShs.6.
  • 20 MB for KShs.25.
  • 50 MB for KShs.60.
  • 100 MB for KShs.110.
  • 500 MB for KShs.500
  • 1 GB for KShs.750.
  • 1.5 GB for KShs.1000.
  • 3 GB for KShs.1999.
  • 8 GB for KShs.3999.

Equitel Internet Settings

You can have the internet settings once your SIM is activated. You will receive the settings and instructions in the form of an SMS. If you don’t have the settings after activation, you can request them- send the word “ALL” to 232 to get the settings. Alternatively, you can configure the settings manually. Remember, your device should be internet-enabled to receive the settings.

To configure the internet settings manually, Go to “Settings” in your mobile device and select “Access Point Name” under “Mobile Networks” then “New APN” (click on the circle with a plus sign). Enter the settings as detailed below and restart your device.

  • Name: Equitel Internet.
  • APN type: Default, Supl.
  • Proxy: Leave it blank (not set).
  • Port: Leave it blank (not set).
  • Username: Leave it blank (not set).
  • Password: Leave it blank (not set).
  • Server: Leave it blank(not set).
  • MMSC: Leave it blank (not set).
  • MMS proxy: Leave blank (not set).
  • MMS port: Leave blank (not set).
  • MCC: 639.
  • MNC: 03.
  • Authentication type: None.
  • APN protocol: IPv4.
  • APN roaming protocol: IPv4.
  • APN enable/disable: APN enabled
  • Bearer: Unspecified.
  • MVNO type: None.
  • MVNO value: Leave it blank (not set).

(Save, select the circle next to the new APN and restart your phone)

- On how to activate data bundles (using airtime), Dial *100# or Go to SIM Tool Kit> Airtel> My Phone> Equitel Self Service> Buy data bundles. You can also follow the steps below to buy from your bank account:

  • Click "SIM Tool Kit and Choose Airtel."
  • Click "My Phone or My Money."
  • Click "Buy Airtime/Bundles."
  • From Your Bank Account
  • Click "Buy Bundles"
  • For This Line
  • Enter PIN
  • Select Bundles
  • Confirm

- On how to activate internet online, visit the site using the service internet and choose data bundles.

(Ensure your line has money)

three main offers
three main offers | Source

In Conclusion...

Equitel is designed to allow more Kenyans access banking services. The new innovation is expected to raise the number of Kenyans accessing banking services from 53% to 90%. As mentioned earlier, the platform is expected to improve efficiency in mobile communication and financial management. Yeah, it is all about Freedom, Choice and Control.

Call 100 on your Equitel line anytime you have an issue for support.

Do you already use Equitel?

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If yes, do you think Equitel is better than other mobile banking platforms in Kenya?

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© 2015 Januaris Saint Fores


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    • Jan Saints profile image

      Januaris Saint Fores 9 months ago from the Midwest

      I've started seeing shops and vendors offering Equitel payment method, so it's catching up! But it's a wait-and-see thing!

    • gichuhinderitu profile image

      Trevor Jones 9 months ago from Nairobi Kenya

      Equity CEO (Dr. James Mwangi) recently said that the product will snap up significant market share from M-PESA. I am curious, is there any proof that this is already happening?