The Central Bank has, for the last month, been on an aggressive path to promote digital financial services with the aim of having a cashless financial system by 2024.
The one side of financial technology that has been welcomed with open arms has been the mobile money platform. Its use is so widespread that it contributed the lion’s share of the Rwf 90 billion that MTN will rake in this year.
Everyone – now it seems – is rushing to get a piece of the cashless pie; from motorcycle taxi businesses such as Yego Moto whose passengers will now be able to pay their rides via mobile money, to street parking; Mobile Money will do the trick.
But the real breakthrough came by bus. A startup, AC group, introduced Tap and Go that is used in our transport system. All one has to do is load an electronic card with money and tap it at the buses entrance. The firm has even managed to export the system to other countries.
The main obstacles for more uptakes of electronic payment services are two-fold. First of all it is still regarded by many as an elitist tool for a select section of society, a notion that banks needs to dispel urgently.
The other stumbling block is that the services are still costly and hurt the customers’ pockets, thus financial service providers need to heed the Central Bank’s call to make them more affordable and safe to gain a wider audience.
Simplifying financial services will definitely come with its dangers. This calls for tight security controls at all levels as cyber criminals always seem to be a step ahead. Otherwise, the 2024 target is attainable.