Top 5 instances that undermine cashless payments uptake

Cashless penetration is measured by aspects such as volume of transactions, usage, footprint of infrastructure such as point of sale machines, value of e-payments to Gross Domestic Product, which stands at 34. / File.

While the Government, through the Central Bank, has been calling on Rwandans to adopt cashless payments, a few sectors in the local economy make it hard for the general public to adopt cashless payments.

With Rwandans making attempts to adopt cashless systems through debit cards and mobile money, a number of places lack the cashless payment options.


Cashless penetration is measured by aspects such as volume of transactions, usage, footprint of infrastructure such as point of sale machines, value of e-payments to Gross Domestic Product, which currently stands at 34.6 per cent.


The National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), which is also the Seven-Year Government Programme (7YGP), has ambitions of increasing the value of payment transactions done electronically as percentage of GDP to 80 per cent by 2024. This will among other goals position the country to increase domestic savings. 


Business Times featured the top five places that one should expect hitches in their pursuit of adopting a cashless lifestyle:

Malls parking lots

While most if not all malls and other parking spots require users to pay prior to departing, none accepts cashless payments. A spot check by Business Times showed that across Kigali, all parking locations including latest malls and airport have a preference for cash payments. Considering that the malls and parking locations have high traffic across the day, having provisions for cashless payments would improve towards government ambitions.

Food markets:

Food markets such as Kimironko, Nyabugogo, Kicukiro and others are ever busy with traders and clients making multiple transactions of different amounts. However, few if any of the transactions are cashless. A spot check across multiple markets in Kigali showed that few of the retailer in the food markets have provisions for cashless payments. Few of them have paybill numbers which would require a client to add withdrawal fees to the payment.

While local telcos, MTN and Airtel are working to increase in the uptake of the paybill numbers which will eliminate the need for clients to add withdrawal charges when making, there emerges to be deep need for awareness. The awareness ought to cover aspects such as the existence of paybill provisions as well as to demystify perceptions of costs among merchants.

School fees

Despite assurances that one can pay school fees via mobile money, a majority of schools across the country continue to require the infamous ‘borodero’ banking slip.

This is often because the school’s accountings systems and procedures do not have provisions for tracking cashless payments made to them. This further points to the need of awareness among businesses on incorporating cashless payments systems as well as record keeping. Parents also told this paper that their preference for making cash payments through banks is that they often feel ‘safer’ as there is proof of payment in the event anomalies arise.  

Audit processes

While a number of firms and entities may want to adopt cashless payment, the issue of complying to audit processes emerges. At least once a year when the firms are subjected to financial audits while require receipts as proof of payment. A number of procurement officers who spoke to this paper said that much as they would want to adopt the trend, they are still uncertain of the compatibility with audit processes.


Churches and religion is an integral part of Rwandan society and culture with millions of followers and participants. Among the rituals in places of worship is offertory giving and tithing. With the exception of a few churches in the city, a majority of churches across the country are cash dominant and prefer collecting offertory in baskets.

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