How Africa is leading the adoption of mobile money

mobile moneyMobile devices are slowly making all manner of items obsolete: clocks, cameras, calendars – and now, even bank accounts . While it’s unlikely that mobile banking will replace traditional banking anytime soon, mobile money is becoming more and more widespread: and it’s Africa that’s leading the change. Mobile money accounts are financially empowering individuals across the continent who don’t have access to financial services. Not only that, but they’re also adding value to consumers who already have bank accounts . By selling reloadable cards, not only will you attract more people to your store, you’ll open up financial possibilities for them.

There are more people in central Africa with mobile money accounts than bank accounts

According to data from digital news outlet Quartz, there are nine African countries where more people have mobile money accounts than traditional bank accounts. Their research shows exactly how much Africa is outstripping the rest of the world when it comes to adopting mobile money. In Kenya, M-Pesa has been in use for over seven years. The country also has the most widespread use of mobile money accounts: the World Bank estimates that 59% of the population uses mobile banking. That’s followed by Somalia, where 37% of the population use mobile money. Coming in at third is Uganda, with 35% of the population using mobile money accounts. There the value of mobile money transfers doubled in two years from R43 million in 2012 to R90 million in 2014, according to a report on the AFK Insider.

South Africa has the perfect conditions for mobile money to become widespread

The large number of unbanked individuals, less developed infrastructure – making traveling to open a bank account harder –  and high mobile phone penetration in these countries has created the perfect environment for mobile money to take off. Research from FinMark shows that in South Africa there are 10 million unbanked individuals, and probably many more who live miles from their nearest bank branch. Mobile phone penetration currently stands at 133% according to data from UK-based On Device, meaning that every person in the country is eligible to open a mobile money account .

Activating a mobile money account is fast and easy

By selling reloadable cards in your store, you’re offering customers a Visa card linked to a mobile money account – neither of which require them to already have a bank account. All that’s required to set up their mobile money account is their name, mobile phone number and ID number. The mobile wallet is activated within minutes, after which they can activate and link a Visa card to the mobile wallet.

Mobile banking offers customers a range of value-added services

With a mobile money account, customers can transfer money between other mobile money accounts , buy prepaid airtime and electricity using their mobile phones and even earn interest on balances above R500. The Visa card that’s linked to their mobile money account lets them draw cash from ATMs, swipe in-store and receive cash back in selected stores. Wages can also be paid into mobile money accounts.

As a store owner, giving your customers access to the continent’s fastest growing payment method – mobile money – will ensure you’re one step ahead of the shop down the road. You’ll also be facilitating greater financial inclusion within your community. If you’d like to find out more about how to sell reloadable cards in your store, download the Reload brochure.