On Thursday, the 29th of August 2019, MTN launched the mobile money service, MoMo Agent Service, in Nigeria. The company is the largest telecommunications service provider in Africa. Nigeria, being the most populous country in Africa, is the company’s largest market. The launching event took place at the Hilton Abuja. MTN is the first firm of its kind to launch mobile money operations in Nigeria.
This move will enable millions of people to send and receive money via their mobile phones. Money transactions using mobile phones are always easier and faster especially because people don’t have to frequently go to the bank.
Similarly, MTN had already launched the MoMo service in West African country Ghana and operations have been going on successfully. MTN said that the company has partnered with over 10 banks to provide the service and also highlighted the advantages of using the service.
“The service is offered by MTN in partnership with over 10 partner banks. You can use MTN Mobile Money to send and receive money, top-up MTN airtime, pay bills (DStv, ECG Postpaid, MTN Postpaid, School fees and more), buy & pay for insurance, pay employee salaries, pay for airline tickets and other goods and services.
“No need to travel far or wait impatiently to receive or send money. Register with a valid photo ID today and enjoy the ease and convenience Mobile Money offers. The services on offer include: Pay your bills online or through your phone, Recharge your credit easily and Transfer money to your loved ones without going to the bank.”
In 2018, Nigeria softened its restrictions, giving telecommunication companies the go-ahead to provide financial services. MTN got its ‘super agent’ license in July 2019. This was after the company solved its disputes with Nigerian regulators and floated its shares in the country. Other companies such as Airtel are also making efforts to get the licenses to allow them to provide mobile money services to its customers.
Other telecommunication service providers in Africa such as Safaricom have already made their mobile money operation platforms very popular among their consumers. Safaricom launched its mobile money operation platform, M-Pesa, in Kenya in 2007. From Kenya, the company expanded M-Pesa to the rest of East Africa. M-Pesa has made Safaricom the most profitable company in East and Central Africa.
Dr. Joe Abah compared mobile money in Nigeria and Kenya in his tweet.
“The result is that today only 6% of Nigerians use Mobile Money. Compare this to 73% in Kenya where, with Mpesa you can get dollars from abroad in 5 minutes using PayPal. Kenyans use Mpesa to pay for virtually everything, including cutting your hair at the barber’s.”
“You see, Kenya drove their Mobile Money initiative through Telcos, not banks. Thankfully, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Digital Financial Policy of 2018 reversed this policy to put Telcos in the driving seat. This should encourage wider financial inclusion for the poor.”
The other telecommunication networks in Kenya, Airtel and Telkom, also provide mobile money services through Airtel Money and T-Kash, respectively.