New figures from the Ministry of Youth and ICT indicate that mobile money platforms have emerged as the main facilitator of cashless transactions in the country, with the number of subscribers across all the networks close to 6 million as of December 2014.
The number of mobile money transactions more than doubled, hitting the 100 million mark and handling Rwf691.5 billion last year.
Other non-cash means of payment also registered healthy growth, with card-based transactions topping Rwf247.9 billion between January and September last year, up from Rwf130.6 billion over same period the previous year, according to central bank figures.
Obviously this was facilitated by the increase in the number of Point of Sale devices to 1,128 from just 829 in the same period of the previous year.
With Rwanda joining the Better than Cash Alliance, an international organisation that facilitates transition from cash to electronic payments, last October, coupled with existing strategies to further boost cashless means of settling business transactions, even more progress can be expected.
In recent years, Rwanda’s financial system has undergone the surgeon’s knife ushering in the era of electronic banking — significantly reducing long queues in banking halls.
Most importantly, soon paperwork – the use of cheque books for that matter – could soon be significantly reduced, making payments faster and more secure.
Nonetheless, there is need for continued sensitisation of the public on the advantages of embracing existing modern payment systems, including mobile money and other electronic payment platforms to avoid risks associated with bulk cash changing hands. And let the cost be affordable.
There is also need to remain vigilant against sophisticated cyber criminals who target electronic systems to defraud the public and financial institutions.