Cashless economy drive gets a boost as new mobile financial services platform is unveiled

Mobile money subscribers will now be able to transact and make payments on the go following the unveiling of a new mobile financial services platform that will create integration between banks and mobile technologies.
The platform will allow subscribers to deposit or withdraw money from the banks accounts on the TigoCash platform and vice versa. / Imbabazi Nadage.
The platform will allow subscribers to deposit or withdraw money from the banks accounts on the TigoCash platform and vice versa. / Imbabazi Nadage.

Mobile money subscribers will now be able to transact and make payments on the go following the unveiling of a new mobile financial services platform that will create integration between banks and mobile technologies.

The platform by Tigo Rwanda will act as “push and pull” system, enabling customers to transact seamlessly from their mobile wallets and bank accounts, according to Philip Amoateng, the chief executive. Amoateng said the new platform will also facilitate transition of TigoCash’s 1.3 million to the digital economy.

 

“Mobile technology is one of the platforms that can change people’s lives because it’s closer to the human being than any other technology,” he said.

 

“Therefore, we are trying to bring products and services like banking closer to the peoples to simplify their lives,” he said at the launch of the facility that attracted financial services sector stakeholders last week.

 

Last year, the company partnered with Woods Foundation and Access to Finance Rwanda to launch ‘Tigo Payment for Agriculture’, a platform that is currently helping more than 10,000 tea farmers to instantly receive payments on their mobile phones. The new platform and other digital innovations that Tigo and other telecom sector players provide are crucial to increase financial and digital inclusion, as well as strengthen the drive toward a cashless economy.

Amoateng explained that the new platform will reduce the distance and time people spend to access or make deposits at their bank. “We are thinking, if mobile devices are closer to people, how can we simulate that human activity of the mobile device? The idea is to cut that distance and time people spend to and from their bank,” added.

The facility will benefit customers of different lenders, including Bank of Kigali, GT Bank, I&M Bank, Access Bank, Zigama CSS and KCB Bank, who will be able to withdraw or deposit money using their TigoCash wallets.

Innovations by other telecoms allow customers to send or receive money using ATMs, as well as pay for goods and services, including transport fare and school fees.

MTN and Airtel’s “bank push and pull” system also allows its clients to send and receive money from their mobile wallets or bank accounts using mobile money service.

Reducing cost of transaction

People still travel long distances to the near bank branch to withdraw or deposit money, which is costly in terms of money and time, experts say, adding that a digital platform that integrates the banking and telecom sector services can help reduce the cost of transactions, enabling people to focus on other activities.

Clement Uwajeneza, the CEO at RwandaOnline platform, an e-government services provider behind Irembo portal, said digital platforms help businesses streamline operations and, hence reduce operational costs. The Irembo portal is a single electronic service delivery for government ministries and agencies. He said mobile technologies play a significant role in easing access to information and services.

“In our case, partnering with firms that provide mobile innovations enable us to provide Rwandans simplified experience while bringing down the cost of getting the services and delivering them,” Uwajeneza said.

Digital financial inclusion

Amoateng said the new platform will drive, not just financial inclusion, but digital financial inclusion. He, however, called for more public awareness campaigns to encourage people to “embrace these innovations and use them effectively”.

He was optimistic that once the majority of Rwandans embrace mobile platforms, banks will find it easy to extend loans to subscribers “as they will be having the track record of the customer”.

He argued that this fosters digital financial inclusion, which is more effective than traditional financial inclusion.

Disrupting the sector

Sunny Ntayombya, the corporate communications and government relations manager at Tigo, said putting in place systems that link customers’ mobile money wallets to their bank accounts disrupts the entire financial services industry and brings new opportunities.

“Previously, if you wanted to buy something and you had no money on your mobile money wallet, you would go to the bank to withdraw the money. However, with systems like this in place it is now possible to carry out your transactions from the comfort of your home. This is changing the entire financial services sector, driving financial inclusion and cashless economy,” he noted.

He said, however, operators should strive to establish a single interoperable system that allows people to transact and do payments across all the networks.

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