Mobile money users to access services at ATMs

It will now be easier for mobile money users to transact business after Airtel Rwanda, RSwitch and I&M Bank unveiled a deal that will enable customers access services on automated teller machines (ATMs).
Bugingo speaking at the launch of the service. The New Times / Peterson Tumwebaze
Bugingo speaking at the launch of the service. The New Times / Peterson Tumwebaze

It will now be easier for mobile money users to transact business after Airtel Rwanda, RSwitch and I&M Bank unveiled a deal that will enable customers access services on automated teller machines (ATMs).

Konde Bugingo, the RSwitch chief executive officer, said the new system allows interoperability of the telecom’s mobile money platform and I&M Bank ATMs across the country.

“This means if you are on Airtel money you can send or receive money using I&B Bank ATMs anywhere in the country,” explained Bugingo.

The system was launched at the recently concluded TransformAfrica Summit in Kigali.

John Magara, the Airtel brand and communications manager, said it is now more convenient for a mobile money users, especially at night.

“It is now convenient, especially at night when mobile money agents have retired. People will be able to use I&M Bank ATMs to access all our money services,” he said.

The cost is even cheaper compared to a mobile money agent. This, therefore, means that we are creating quality, efficiency and more secure means of financial transactions, he added.

Bugingo said the facility has started with Airtel and I&M Bank, but other telecoms and banks will also soon come on board. “Tigo is expected to be connected onto the system next month and MTN early next year after they have completed an ongoing systems upgrade,” he said.

Mobile money services are becoming increasingly popular in Rwanda, especially among the rural population.

It has also emerged as an effective tool to fight poverty, transforming lives of thousands of Rwandans, mainly rural farmers and businesspeople who do not access formal banking services.

Statistics from the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) indicate that over 1.7 million subscribers were registered on the mobile money platform by March this year. The figure was at 639,000 subscribers at the end of last year, with MTN Rwanda having pushed over Rwf90b through the platform.

“This is a great addition to the mobile money service since it makes it more convenient now that phones will now act as the ATM cards,” said James Ruhimbana, a mobile money user in Kigali.

RSwitch is in charge of facilitating all electronic payments in the country.

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