Mobile money transfers racing ahead in Africa

Mobile customers in Kenya are embracing money transfer options through mobile phones, as new data shows over 80% of new mobile purchases were accompanied with mobile transfer service purchases. The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) released the data on Friday showing 1.02 million sign ups for mobile services in the third quarter of 2011.

This increase in services follows a series of recent innovations in this sphere in Kenya, including Visa, Orange Money and Equity Bank’s partnership allowing phones to be used as debit cards at Visa outlets. Also, last year’s partnership between MasterCard, Airtel and Standard Chartered Bank provided Airtel users a means to send money with MasterCard services, while also allowing them to shop online.

In fact, mobile transfers have overtaken plastic card transfers, with Sh732 billion being transferred through mobile phones, while card transfers are steadily decreasing, dropping from Sh560 m to Sh428 m last year.

In other news, Warid Telecom has become the fourth Ugandan mobile operator network to bring out mobile services. Its first trial was deemed a “solid” success, and is being embraced by users. Airtel and UTL already have services out, but MTN retains its dominating status, with an 80 percent share of the mobile money market in Uganda. Orange Uganda also plans to bring out mobile money services later this year.

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