Why mobile money services still grow
Mobile phone money transfer service has affirmed that Kenya is an innovation hub.
Besides bringing convenience, the service, popularly called mobile money, is credited with helping people with no bank accounts access banking services using their phones.
Many thought it would collapse soon after its launch in 2007 but it has radically transformed lives of Kenyans if the information showing the transactions carried out per year is anything to go by.
The Fin Access National Survey 2013 indicates that Nairobi tops the list of mobile phone users with at 84 per cent.
The statistics also show that the use of mobile phone financial services had more than doubled to 62 per cent in 2013, up from 28 per cent in 2009.
The number of adults using mobile phone financial services also more than doubled to reach 11.5 million compared with 5.4 million for all the banks combined.
Also 29 per cent of adults now use mobile phone money transfer service for international transfers, up from 13 per cent five years ago.
Mobile money agent kiosks dot almost every corner of the city’s CBD and the estates.
“When there is an emergency at my rural home, there is no need for me to travel. I send money and my family receives it instantly. The service is reliable and very affordable,” said Gerald Kiiru, a resident.
People no longer need to visit a bank and bear the brunt of long queues to make transactions.
With a mobile phone, one can make a transaction from the comfort of his or her home.
After realising the potential of mobile money business, banks have partnered with mobile phone service providers to benefit from the penetration by linking subscribers’ numbers with their bank accounts.
This way, subscribers can deposit or withdraw money from their bank using their hand sets.
Paying bills and purchasing airtime has also been made very easy by the mobile money service.
The idea and technology behind mobile money was started by Vodafone (a shareholder in Safaricom) in London and first implemented in Kenya by Safaricom. Later, other mobile firms adopted it.
Due to the many benefits that mobile money brought to Kenya, countries like Tanzania, India (M-Paisa), South Africa and Afghanistan through Vodafone also adopted it.
There are 23.2 million mobile money subscribers in Kenya and Safaricom’s M-pesa takes the lion’s share with 17 million, indicating a tremendous growth since its launch in 2007 when its initial target was getting between 300,000 and 350,000 customers in the first year.
The rest of the subscribers are shared among Yu Cash, Airtel Money, Mobikash, Tangaza and Orange money.