Switch to mobile payments raises cash transfers

Airtel Money and M-Pesa shops in Nairobi. Money transferred through mobile phones hit Sh375.1 billion in the first quarter of the year from Sh240.77 billion sent between January and March last year. Photo/File
By David Mugwe (email the author)

The value of money transferred through mobile phones rose by 55.77 per cent in the first three months of the year to Sh375.1 billion, as more users switched to paying for goods and services through their phones.
New data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows that money transferred through mobile phones rose by Sh134.3 billion in the first quarter of the year from Sh240.77 billion sent between January and March last year.
The amount of money transferred through mobile phones in the first quarter of 2010 stood at Sh154.49 billion, having risen from Sh89.58 billion in 2009, and Sh16.03 billion in 2008.
Michael Ghossein, the chief executive officer of Telkom Kenya which operates Orange Money, said that mobile phone cash transfer systems were evolving into payments systems, offering consumers more options.
“It is now transforming from mobile money transfer to mobile payments, soon you will be paying for goods and services such as groceries and fuel with the mobile phone,” said Mr Ghossein.
Companies have also begun adopting mobile phone money for payment of staff salaries. In the 12 months to the end of last year, the value of money transferred through mobile phones rose to Sh1.169 trillion from Sh732.22 billion in 2010.
“There is a market out there that is not exploited and the dramatic increase in the use of mobile money is a reflection of this,” said Habil Olaka, chief executive officer of the Kenya Bankers Association.
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