Mobile Money is the next big thing when it comes to financial inclusion of people from all walks of life in Zambia, and it’s important for all interested parties to step up to the game and play ball if they want to stay relevant.
According to a press statement made available to us, at the recently held Chief Chibale Traditional Ceremony in Serenje district in the Central Province of Zambia, MTN Zambia Chief Sales and Distribution Officer Amon Jere said it is important to use mobile banking services for the country to have a financially included population.
He stated how there is a higher percentage of the population with mobile phones(70%) than those who have bank accounts (37%), making mobile money a perfect medium between the two.
He stressed how MTN Zambia and the Bank of Zambia have been having talks about promoting the use of mobile money in the country. On behalf of MTN Zambia he stated that “Our conversations with the Bank of Zambia highlight the fact that the Central Bank is concerned about accessibility to banking services especially in rural areas. This is a concern we share and as a leading communications solutions provider, MTN Zambia provides a solution through Mobile Money. MTN Mobile Money is a cash management service available on the mobile phone. It is mainly about facilitating mobile banking services for the Zambian market.”
Because Serenje is a largely farming district he stressed the importance of mobile money to the farmers there saying, “We have noted that the people of this area are a farming community. This means that they depend on their produce for sustenance. As with many small scale farmers in Zambia, the challenge is saving money once they sell their commodities because they are unbanked. A very significant number of small scale farmers is unbanked largely because their areas are not serviced by banks or they find conventional banking expensive for them. The safest and most convenient solution is available to all MTN Zambia customers through Mobile Money.”
Just why is mobile money so big a deal?
Well, it’s convenient as all you need to make transactions is your handset, and available money in your account. This is perfect service for people in the most hidden rural parts of the country that have no financial institutions and also will help increase the client base for mobile operators.
If financial institutions work together with these mobile operators running mobile money platforms, there is a greater exposure level for them too. Eventually, there will be less need for people to wait in line to make cross payments to other banks or other accounts because everything will just be done from a handset, whether smartphone or not. M-commerce is in style and everyone needs to wear the shoe.
What do mobile operators have to do to make sure this works?
Firstly, it has to work. ‘Technical difficulties’ need to become an excuse of the past. There should be an effective system with enough support to make sure there are no errors and delays or service. Yes, it can’t be perfect all the time, but it shouldn’t be worthless either. There has to be constant maintenance especially when expansion happens and more subscribers start to use the service. Consistency is key.
Any concerns about mobile banking?
Security risks are less than online banking due to more hackers there but what if your phone is stolen? Thieves can access your account if you set your phone settings to save every PIN or password. Always log out after a transaction, no matter how many times you have to use the service a day. Never allow your phone to save our PIN. Another concern is the cost of transactions; these should be low enough to also include the part of the population that doesn’t make 6 figure incomes.
Other than that, mobile money has a green light from us.
Image Credit: PC Pro