MTN Ghana says it has been piloting Mobile Banking on its Mobile Money platform for a while now and it is now ready to go commercial with it.
Head of MTN Mobile Money, Eli Hini told Adom News the service has been available to Fidelity Bank customers, and allowed users to move money from their mobile wallet into their bank account, and vice-a-versa; allow checking of bank balance, accessing mini statements and also allows cardless withdrawal of cash from some of Fidelity Bank’s ATMs.
“Every Fidelity Bank customer who is also an MTN Mobile Money customer already have access to the service can move money from bank account to wallet and from wallet to bank account,” he said. “It is live but it has not gone fully commercial yet.”
Hini demonstrated how the service works to Adom News Editor, Nii Narku Dowuona, but noted that because it was on pilot basis, the company is yet to start promoting sometime next year.
“We have now completed the pilot and we will soon extend it to our other partner banks and go fully commercial with it soon,” he said.
He said the Mobile Banking service would also give customers the opportunity to manage transactions on their ATM cards, but that service is yet to be activated.
Airtel Money was the first to go public with Mobile Banking services that links customers’ Mobile Money wallets with their bank accounts at seven banks in Ghana, and giving customers the opportunity to make cardless ATM withdrawals, but Hini said MTN has been doing all that on the quiet.
Hini also said he was aware that competition allows payment of DSTV bills with mobile money, but MTN Mobile Money also does SMART TV, and Electricity bills.
“We are also working with Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) to start the payment of water bills but GWCL has not been able to grant us access due to data issues at their end,” he said.
Meanwhile, Airtel Money says they already have bills payment arrangement with GWCL, and Head of Mobile Commerce at Airtel Ghana, Martison Obeng-Agyei actually showed a GWCL Bill which read “You can pay with Airtel Money”.
Eli Hini said MTN Mobile Money also has arrangements with some delivery companies like Runners, and Monicliq, who pick up orders from various restaurants in Accra and deliver to MTN customers and accept payments with MTN Mobile Money. The service also allows online shopping on several websites and also offline shopping at Max Mart.
He said MTN Mobile Money also allows payment of school fees at some selected schools, and have also set up fee payment platforms for some second cycle institutions. Additionally, the University of Ghana allows students to pay their graduation fees with MTN Mobile Money.
Through the relationship with Monicliq, for instance, MTN Mobile Money customers can pay examinations fees at West Africa Examinations Council, and also check examinations results online and pay with mobile money, Hini said.
The platform also has a mobile insurance service, through which MTN provides access to a life insurance scheme underwritten by UT Life Insurance, and provides a strictly premium-based cover, unlike the Tigo Family Care Insurance that provides cover based on small premium or on airtime usage. Over 20,000 customers have signed on to the MTN Mobile insurance scheme covering over 40,000 people.
Hini said recently MTN Mobile Money piloted a new service called "Kwik Advance", where corporate organizations sign on their staff and the staff are get the opportunity to receive up to 40% of their monthly salaries in advance from MTN through their Mobile Money wallets, and it is netted off at the end of the month.
“We have also secured the authorization for remittances on our mobile money platform so we will start that very soon but that would be limited to inbound transfers from overseas and only persons with mobile wallets can enjoy the service,” he said. “When you receive the money it would be put directly into your mobile wallet.”
Hini said so far MTN Mobile Money is doing an average of 1.5million transactions worth over GHC50million on monthly basis, adding that the current report from October showed they did almost GHC52million worth of transactions in just that one month.
He said over 100,000 out of the 2million Mobile Money customers actively use the platform on a monthly basis.
“We started with about 80% of activity being airtime purchase but now even though total number of activity is growing, airtime purchase has dropped to 60%, which means customers are gradually using more of the other services than just purchasing airtime,” he said.
Hini believes the regulator, Bank of Ghana and government should get involved in the advocacy and promotion of Mobile Money because it has the potential to drive the country to the cashless society it aspires at a faster rate, as well as save money on printing of currency notes, and on movement of cash around.
“It is expensive to get the idea of electronic money and mobile money across to people so government must get involved actively firstly by getting its agencies to start using mobile money make payments such as national service allowances, National Youth Employment wages, over the counter payment to labourers on government projects, pension allowances and several other bulk payments of small amounts,” he said.
MTN is the market leader with over 11 million customers representing some 45% mobile cellular voice market share in Ghana, according to third quarter statistics from the National Communication Authority.