MTN Mobile Money record 9.5 million transactions in two years
8/7/2012 12:30:17 AM -
MTN Mobile Money recorded a total of 9.5million transaction worth GHC113million between 2009 and 2011.
But by the close of this year (2012), the company expects its Mobile Money Service to record about 13.5 million transactions worth over GHC 300million, which represent over 265% growth in the value transacted.
Sales and Distribution Executive at MTN Ghana, Ebenezer Asante disclosed this at a roundtable discussion on 'Building a Cashless Economy in Ghana: Prospects, Challenges and the Way Forward'.
The forums was jointly organized by MTN Ghana and Joy FM to find ways of making cashless financial transactions like the use of mobile payment systems, smart cards, direct money transfers, and other e-payment technologies more accessible to lots of Ghanaians, with the view to making Ghana a cashless economy.
Ebenezer Asante said the benefits of a cashless society are vast, and they included reduction in the cost of printing currency notes, and the risk of transporting cash along the value chain from the Central Bank to banks to businesses and consumers.
He said a cashless society also reduces the risk of people being robbed of their cash, and creates efficient ways of paying for goods, services bills 24 hours a day, all year round, without having to be physically present.
'The net effect of the benefits is business and economic growth through e-commerce promotion, enhanced individual, business and national productivity, with positive impact on job creation and its attendant multi-sectorial multiplier effects,' he said.
Ebenezer Asante noted that a joint research by Mckinsey and the Financial Access Initiative in 2009 reported that more than half of the world's adults (2.5 billion) are unbanked, but two/thirds of the unbanked adults (1.8 billion) have access to mobile phones.
In Ghana, it is estimated that about 90% of business transactions are cash-based, meanwhile mobile penetration is a whopping 93% as at June 2012, according to the National Communication Authority.
The MTN Ghana Sales and Distribution Executive said the huge access to mobile phones combined with the ability to deliver financial services telephonically, now makes it possible to rope in millions of unbanked adults into the financial system, and tap into vast markets that bankers previously considered unprofitable.
'MTN Mobile Money currently has over two million subscribers on its platform and tens of thousands of them now have e-wallets where their monies are lodged and saved - this creates a money savings habit amongst subscribers and helps in economic growth through better and efficient financial inclusion,' he said.
Mr. Asante said MTN Mobile Money offers subscribers many convenient and safe services, including the ability to purchase MTN airtime, transfer money to any part of Ghana that has Network coverage, pay bills (DSTV, ECG, MTN Post Paid Bills), make bulk payments to many people at a click of a button, purchase micro insurance (Mi life Insurance), pay for micro investment products, shop online (airline tickets, shops, restaurants), have digital access to salaries and loans, and make tuition payments.
He said another MTN Mobile Money service is the Bank Integration System with 10 banks, which allows a Mobile Money subscriber to link their bank accounts to mobile wallets, and have access their bank account through the mobile phone, and also make withdrawals from the ATM without a card.
Mr. Asante however acknowledged that there are challenges that need to be dealt with in the short to medium term, and in the long-term in order for Ghana to scale the path to a cashless society more smoothly.
He listed challenges in the areas of policy, infrastructure, security, as well as cultural resistance and education.
Mr. Asante explained that in the short to medium-term, a clear policy that discourages cash usage and encourages electronic-based transaction is necessary, adding that the Nigerian example comes in handy.
He said there is need to expand and share infrastructure and technology among service providers, and retailers so consumers and business can have access to e-transaction services, no matter their location.
'In the long term, we should be driving towards universal access and convergence to all forms of cashless mode of payments - All ATMs/ E-zwich/Mobile Money must cross-transact,' he said.
Mr. Asante also stressed the need for concerted education campaign by all the key service providers, to kill the fixated culture of cash usage, saying that from MTN's own experience with Mobile Money, they learnt that once people started using Mobile Money, they wondered why they did not do so sooner.
He made a firm pledge that MTN would continue to promote cashless transactions, but a lot would depend on the Central Bank and Government in the areas of policy, advocacy and the enabling environment for a structured and centralized approach.
Beside MTN, two other telecom operators, Tigo and Airtel, also run Mobile Money services in Ghana, with expanded packages such as insurance, shopping, and a link to bank accounts among other things.
Story by Ghana/Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona/Adom News