Sending and receiving money through mobile phones is becoming inevitable as Rwandans shift to a cashless economy.
Rwanda telecom companies are also flexing muscles trying to grab a share of millions of subscribers.
MTN Rwanda has reached a 1 million mark of subscribers registered to its mobile money service.
The telecom company which is a subsidiary of East African telecom announced in a statement that its making over 7 million transactions per month, worth Rwf 70 billion (US$86.37m).
According to the statement Mobile Money has contributed up to 10 percent of the total revenue generated.
Bart Hofker the company CEO said the Mobile Money transfers have become popular due to low transfer costs, convenience and low risk factors associated with cashless transactions.
“Mobile Money demonstrates the demand for easy-to-use, safe, and affordable payment options. We are delighted by the current success of MTN Mobile Money, but we will continue to press on for even stronger performance and growth.”
Rwanda’s goal is to fully achieve a cashless economy with at least 95% of all transactions happening electronically by 2017.
Hofker said, “we take note of the digital world our customers’ lives revolve in and don’t want factors like time to be a hindrance for anyone to access payment or transaction services.”
According to the Finscope2016 report, about 34% of Rwanda’s population is registered with mobile money service. MTN Rwanda has the largest share of customers.
In 2014 a total of 6.5 million Mobile Money subscribers from all telecoms made transactions worth Rwf 691.5 billion compared to Rwf 330.4 billion in 2013.
Mobile penetration in Rwanda is estimated to be over 60% and telecoms make 4% of Rwanda’s economy. Despite such a meager figure, it facilitates all other sectors; banking, tourism, and hospitality.
A another private phone application – MERGIMS is also enabling mobile money transfers. It had 100 subscribers during its first 15 days in operation in 2015.
Through this application, Rwandans in the Diaspora can buy electricity, pay tuition bills, at a service fee of only 5% for their relatives back home. Yet, other transfer agencies charge up to 10%.
Muhire Louis Antoine, the CEO describes MERGIMS as “the first Rwanda mobile application to transact in real time, on the international market.”
Meanwhile, MTN Mobile Money has expanded the wings to the region whereby its customers can be able to send money to Uganda or Kenya.