COVID-19 triggers acceleration towards cashless and digital economies: MTN

24797265302 e7aee774e4 cThe spread of COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of mobile financial services, which are increasingly recognised as a tool to mitigate the use of cash in a world fighting the highly contagious virus, according to mobile operator MTN

Many operators, including MTN Group, have supported this trend by moving to waive or reduce certain fees to ease the financial pressures of customers in the midst of a global economic contraction.

Serigne Dioum, MTN Group executive for mobile financial services, said, “To date, as part of MTN’s Y’ello Hope response to COVID-19, we have zero-rated 120mn peer-to-peer Mobile Money transactions with a value of approximately US$2.4bn.

“This has enabled many consumers and businesses across our 16 MoMo markets to transact and accept payments remotely, allowing them to continue operating despite lockdowns.”

Mobile financial services in Africa have grown faster than any other place in the world. Most Africans had been unbanked prior to their introduction. Without bank accounts, people were unable to easily access credit, and had no way to pay bills or electronically transfer money. Mobile financial services improved access and account utilization, underpinning many of the UN’s SDGs.

“As many countries adopted partial or total lockdowns, we witnessed an evolution in the type and volume of Mobile Money transactions,” said Dioum. “We saw a significant increase in MoMo Pay merchant and bill payments despite an initial decline in Mobile Money agent transactions due to the restrictions. However, we have already started to see a gradual increase as restrictions have been eased.”

“These changes, triggered by COVID-19, have enabled the acceleration and scaling of cashless and digital economies. They support our ambition to transition to an end-to-end platform, creating a digital marketplace and connecting consumers to businesses, and businesses to businesses.

We see this as a significant opportunity to change the outlook for affordable, inclusive, understandable and comprehensive financial services in Africa and the Middle East.”

MTN’s plan to continue financial inclusion focuses on offering more customers and small businesses mobile financial services in more markets, expanding the range of products available via the MTN ecosystem.

The company has developed a low-cost payment acceptance solution for small retailers, allowing customers with feature phones to make payments with their MoMo wallets by dialling a USSD code with a feature phone, or by using the MoMo App for smartphone owners.

MoMo Pay is now available on several channels: face-to-face, e-commerce, m-commerce and on the app.

It has a strong value proposition: no fee is charged to the customer and merchants gain added value beyond accepting payments because they too can make payments such as paying salaries, bills and suppliers, as well as accessing working capital. With 250,000 merchants, 2.1mn active users, MoMo Pay is living in 10 markets.

twn Are you sure that you want to switch to desktop version?