Mobile Money is a convenient way to send/receive money and pay for bills without having to queue up at a service centre and all you need is a cellphone and an account with your mobile operator.
In Zambia only two mobile operators currently give this service, Airtel and MTN. Zamtel is yet to jump on the bandwagon as their mobile money licence is being reviewed by ZICTA and they’re just testing a pilot service right now.
It has now been confirmed that Airtel Mobile Money however, has just hit the 3.1 million user mark on the Airtel network, an amazing increase from the 1.8 million announced last December, less than 6 months ago.
According to official statistics from the Central Bank the number of mobile money users now stands at 3.4 million users of which Airtel has a major share while normal bank accounts are at a total of about 2 million countrywide.
Is this the end of normal banking? Well, it definitely is competition for the banking system because it makes having a bank account seem almost irrelevant if a person can simply make payments by phone. Some banks are now offering online banking and even mobile banking services like FNB’s cardless eWallet service, which users can use to transfer/receive money without even having an FNB bank account or ATM card.
Why is mobile banking popular now? First of all, convenience. Nobody has to go to a bank to deposit money when sending it to someone. All they have to do is send from their phone without having to move any bone, except the fingers. Then there’s also the fact that you don’t have to queue up anymore when paying bills. That can be done through mobile money services within minutes, so people have time to do other things.
What can banks do now to still have relevance? Go mobile! These days almost everyone has a phone so if banks can make their services mobile they may be able to maintain a piece of the banking pie, otherwise they will be limited to only providing services such as loans, payroll plans and cheque clearances.
How many people are using mobile money though? Airtel Airtel Zambia Head of Corporate Communications and Government Relations Yuyo Kambikambi says the mobile operator records over 450 000 transactions on a monthly basis and Airtel is still targeting to increase that number. The banks better wake up!
Why do I think the catchy Airtel Mobile Money TV ad had people signing up (and singing along) immediately? The other two operators should take a leaf of great advertising.
Image Credit: Airtel