Mobile money transfer services are set to boost access to financial services following the launch of Tigo’s mobile money product—Tigo cash.
Tigo Rwanda is the second telecom company in the country to launch such a product after MTN Rwanda.
The central bank is optimistic that the service would promote e-banking, boost liquidity in mobile transfers and increase access to financial services especially by the unbanked rural population since mobile phone users are evenly distributed.
John Bosco Sebabi, Director Payment Systems Department in the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) said that the service provides an efficient and smooth operating payment system for economic growth and private sector development.
“In line with vision 2020, which emphasises using ICT as a linchpin for development and making Rwanda a financial hub, Tigo cash is completely aligned to these goals,” he said during the launch of Tigo cash Friday last week.
He added that: “We at central bank wish that this new and exciting product does not stop at remitting cash but be extended to include services like purchasing of goods and services at shopping centres and operations at the level of ATMs and POS (point of sale).” he said
MTN Rwanda, which according to the central bank has slightly over 200, 000 mobile money subscribers and about 300 agents country wide, developed more applications on the service to allow more transactions.
Sebabi emphasised the need for telecom operators to provide convenient and cost effective services to their customers and also conform to the regulatory legal frame work for e-banking transactions to enjoy economies of scale.
Tigo Rwanda’s Chief Executive Officer, Tom Gutjahr, said the introduction of mobile money is part of the company’s commitment to provide cost effective and price friendly services to its subscribers.
“We are the best when it comes to knowing what our customers want. We have provided least call rates and efficient internet in Rwanda, now we want customers to see benefits for themselves through our mobile money,” he said.
According to the Tigo cash Product Manager, Tongai Maramba, the mobile money goal is to build a payment platform that will harness transactions and access to financial services.
“We are already extending accessibility of financial services by putting mobile wallets in the hands of our subscribers. Registering for the product is free and the customers are allowed to deposit and withdraw money on their mobile phone account, he said.
Money transfer is one of the most lucrative businesses in the country.
The central bank says that it continues to receive applications from stand alone Remittance Services Providers (RSP) and several licences were issued.
“It is our firm belief that M- payments and banking will revolutionalise the delivery of financial services in Rwanda in a near future,” the central bank said in the monetary policy and financial stability statement.