Mobile-money payment on the rise in Kenya – report

Cash transfer agent

By: Justus Obando @MountKenyaTimes

The value of mobile commerce last year surged by 35% to reach Kshs. 9.4 trillion from Kshs. 7 trillion recorded in 2019, signifying the continued expansion of digital payments in the country.

The Kenya Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) says this is the largest increment recorded in 5 years, a factor that is being attributed to COVID-19 pandemic.

The Economic Survey 2021 released on Thursday shows that mobile money transfers also grew 20% from Kshs. 4.3 trillion recorded in 2019.

“Mobile money transfer agents and transactions have recorded steady growth in the last five years. During the review period, total amount of mobile money transfers grew by 20%, the largest increment recorded in the last 5 years, to stand at KSh 5.2 trillion in 2020,” stated KNBS in the report.

This, KNBS NOTED, is partly attributed to preferences of cashless transactions in the wake of COVID-19 and the reduction of mobile money transfer tariffs.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) on March 16, 2020, announced seven emergency measures to facilitate mobile money transactions in order to reduce risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Among them, elimination of mobile money charges on transactions below Kshs. 1000, elimination of charges for transfers between mobile money wallets and banks accounts, as well as increase in mobile money transfer tariff for Kshs. 70,000 being applicable to transaction of up to Kshs. 150,000.

“A significant increase in the use of mobile money channels by individuals in both value and number of transactions was noted. Most of the increase was in low-value transactions of Ksh.1,000 or less—this band accounts for over 80% of mobile money transactions and charges were eliminated, which has helped cushion the most vulnerable households,” said CBK Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge in June last year.

Zero charges on person-to-person transfers of up to Kshs.100 to any customer and network was introduced on January 1, 2021 following the expiry of initial measures in December last year.

In 2020, transfers through mobile money agents increased from Kshs. 274.1 billion in 2019 to Kshs. 264.4 billion, while mobile money subscribers rose to 32.5 million from 29 million.

Similarly, deposits through agents rose to Kshs. 3.2 trillion from Kshs. 2.6 trillion recorded in 2019 while transfers from subscriber to subscribers stood at Kshs. 3.3 trillion as at the close of 2020, a 14% increase.

Total transactions rose marginally from 1.8 billion in 2019 to 1.9 billion in 2020.

Kenyans transact Sh18 billion daily via mobile money

Data released by the Central Bank of Kenya last month showed the growth of Sh190 billion in mobile money payments in the period between January to June this year compared to a similar period last year.

According to the monthly transaction data by CBK, Kenya’s mobile money transactions jumped to Sh3.26 trillion during the period under review, compared to Sh3.06 trillion between July to December last year.

The amount of mobile money moved in the first six months of the year was a 52 per cent growth compared to the similar period last year when only Sh2.1 trillion was transacted.

Even so, the monthly transaction dropped in June to Sh532.63 billion compared to Sh536.70 in May. This means the country recorded a daily mobile money transition worth Sh17.8 billion.

The country moved the highest ever rate of mobile money transaction of Sh605.70 billion in December last year, translating to a daily rate of Sh19.5 billion.

Data from the apex bank shows that in total, Kenyans moved $50 billion (Sh5.4 trillion) through their phones in 2020, driven by relief measures on mobile phone payments to help to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The value of mobile money transactions in Kenya in 2020 marked a 20 per cent rise from $40 billion (Sh4.3 trillion) in the previous year.

This means that an average of $140 million was transacted on mobile phones by Kenyans daily between January and December 2020.

The number of registered mobile money accounts increased by six million to 67.8 million accounts at the end of June 2021 from 61.7 million at the end of June 2020.

Similarly, the volume of mobile money transactions increased to 175.8 million transactions in June this year, from 143.1 million transactions in June 2020.

Due to the increased popularity of mobile money services, Kenya’s active mobile money agents increased to 301,457 agents in June, the highest level on record, up from 237,637 agents in the same period a year ago.

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