Mobile Money transfers made free to boost cashless payments

Mobile money agents carry out transactions for customers on a street in Kigali. / Photo: File.

Transactions via Mobile Money will be free to users for the next three months as the government moves to encourage digital payments to reduce the chances of transmissions of the COVID-19.

Cash handling increases the chances of transmission of the virus which is a global pandemic as it increases physical contact between persons.


The development, announced by National Bank of Rwanda on Wednesday evening, March 18, following engagement with banks and telcos, will see zero charges on all mobile money transfers.


The move also saw zero charges on push and pull services between bank accounts and mobile wallets.


This in turn means that one can move money from their bank account to their mobile money accounts to pay for goods and services without needing to physically handle money.

Traders accepting payments via contactless point of sale, mobile money and virtual points of sale such as QR codes will not be required to pay any fees when accessing payments by clients.

This encourages traders and merchants to accept virtual payments as the commission fees previously imposed has been temporarily removed.

To further encourage cashless payments, mobile money transfer limits have been adjusted from a maximum of Rwf 500,000 to Rwf1,500,000 for Tier 1 clients and up to Rwf4,000,000 for Tier 2 clients (from Rwf1,000,000).

Transactions made by majority of the ordinary citizens fall in the Tier 1 category.

This also reduces the chances of cash handling in the economy and consequently reducing chances of transmission of the virus.

Prior to the development, there were few incentives to increase uptake of cashless transactions as users often cited high costs of transfers and accessing payments.

In a statement by central bank governor John Rwangombwa, the institution encouraged citizens to take advantage of the removal of charges on digital money transactions and adopt digital payments.

“The National Bank of Rwanda encourages all citizens to take advantage of the removal of all charges on electronic money transactions, and use digital payment means for all their transactions,” the statement read in part.

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