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August 17, 2022

On the web

Fighting Poverty With Direct Cash Payments

MIT News

“What’s the best way to help someone living in extreme poverty? Some might say improved access to food while others might focus on health care or education. All are worthy causes, but the truth is that the needs of people in extreme poverty vary. Walk through a slum in Kenya, for instance, and you might meet budding entrepreneurs, people who want to invest in education for themselves or their children, and even people who, given the ability, would simply work less and spend more time caring for family. Since 2009, the nonprofit GiveDirectly has allowed impoverished people to choose for themselves by facilitating digital cash donations that go directly into recipient’s bank accounts.”

April 21, 2022

On the web

How Meta Platforms Fell Behind in Indian Mobile Payments

Wall Street Journal

“Mark Zuckerberg has pinned his hopes on commerce to save his business from stagnating user engagement and decelerating advertising revenue growth. But in the massive market of India, Facebook parent company Meta Platforms has fallen far behind in mobile payments, which serve as the crucial last step in closing an online sale. It needs to get its act together quickly if it doesn’t want to lose out to Google and Walmart in the race for controlling digital payments in the world’s second-largest internet market. Meta has a popular mobile messaging platform in the country with WhatsApp, which has its own local payment service. But so far, the encrypted messaging app has been at loggerheads with the Indian government over multiple issues, all of which are likely impacting its payment ambitions in India.”

April 19, 2022

On the web

Hand Implant Allows People to Pay With Chip


“The future is here. Those tired of taking out their wallet or phone to pay for things could soon skip that step entirely, thanks to a new implantable payment chip. The British-Polish company Walletmor has created a microchip that can be implanted inside a person’s hand and used as one would tap a credit card for payment. The technology is only currently allowed to be sold in the European Union and the U.K. “The implant can be used to pay for a drink on the beach in Rio, a coffee in New York, a haircut in Paris – or at your local grocery store,” founder and chief executive Wojtek Paprota told the BBC . “It can be used wherever contactless payments are accepted.””

On the wires

MYPINPAD and SmartPesa Merge to Become the Global Leader in Mobile Payments Acceptance


“MYPINPAD, a global leader in mobile-based payments acceptance and digital authentication solutions, and SmartPesa, a leading provider of payments and agency banking solutions, have agreed to merge. The combined entity will operate under the MYPINPAD brand.Customers will benefit from greater scale, a wider product offering and the certainty of continued support as the industry moves towards the PCI Security Standards Council’s forthcoming Mobile Payments on COTS (MPoC) Standard. The deal positions MYPINPAD as the leading global provider in the rapidly expanding mobile payments acceptance market. The combined entity expects to double its existing footprint in APAC, LATAM and EMEA and target North America in 2022 and beyond.”

November 10, 2021

On the web

Safaricom of Kenya Boosts Profit as Mobile-Money Fees Return


“Africa’s second-biggest company by market value said net income rose 12% to 37.1 billion shillings ($332 million) in the six months through September. Sales on Safaricom’s money transfer and payments platform, M-Pesa, grew by 46%, boosting service revenue to 138.4 billion shillings, Chief Finance Officer Dilip Pal said at a briefing in the capital, Nairobi.  The value of M-Pesa transactions grew 51.5% year-on-year boosting total revenue to 146.4 billion shillings. The number of customers who use Safaricom services each month increased 4.7% to 31.75 million from a year earlier, Pal said.”

October 21, 2021

On the wires

TNM Mpamba and Mastercard Empower Millions of Consumers in Malawi to Make In-person and Online Payments on Global Platforms, Advancing Digital Financial Inclusion | Middle East/Africa Hub

“In a country-first for Malawi, mobile money service provider TNM Mpamba today launched a Mastercard debit card, enabling its customers – even those without bank accounts – to make safe and seamless in-person and online digital payments on the Mastercard network. Dubbed “Khadi Mbambande”, the new card is expected to enhance financial inclusion and improve access to the digital economy. Powered by National Bank of Malawi, the physical Mastercard debit card is linked to the TNM Mpamba mobile money wallet, giving customers new ways to access and pay for products and services at the millions of retail locations that accept Mastercard in Malawi and abroad”

October 11, 2021

On the web

Mobile Money—how Innovation in Kenya Paved the Way for Digital Payments

The Economist

“PAYING FOR things using your phone has become far more widespread during the pandemic. But Western consumers are playing catch-up. Mobile payments have been widespread for more than a decade in Africa, and in particular in Kenya , where the world’s first successful mobile-money system , called M-PESA, was launched in 2007. Why did it take off in Kenya first, how did users shape the development of the product—and what does this story reveal about innovation?”

September 10, 2021

On the web

MTN Inks Expanded Flutterwave Mobile Money Deal

Mobile World Live

“MTN Group widened a partnership with merchant payment technology provider Flutterwave to expand acceptance of the operator’s mobile money platforms to the latter’s customers in three new African markets. Prior to the new deal, Flutterwave customers in Uganda and Rwanda were able to accept payments through MTN’s mobile money platforms. This has now been expanded to Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Zambia.”

September 1, 2021

On the web

CBN Issues Revised Guidelines on Mobile Money Services in Nigeria


“On 9 July 2021 the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a new regulatory framework on mobile money services in Nigeria (the 2021 guidelines), replacing the guidelines on mobile money services that were issued in 2015 (the 2015 guidelines). The 2021 guidelines retain the existing models (bank and non-bank-led) that may be implemented by mobile money operators (MMOs) with respect to mobile money services and largely replicate the 2015 guidelines. However, they introduce a number of new features, which are outlined in this article.”

May 15, 2020

On the web

Opera’s OPay still plans Africa expansion on Nigerian super app


“Opera’s Africa fintech startup OPay remains committed to building a multi-service super app in Nigeria as the foundation to expand on the continent. OPay also continues to operate ORide for limited passenger service — though the company is shifting the motorcycle ride-hail operation toward logistics businesses. Opera launched the OPay mobile money platform in Lagos in 2018 on the popularity of its internet search engine in Africa. A year later, the Norway-based, Chinese-owned company sent jitters through Nigeria’s startup world when it rallied investors to back OPay with $170 million in VC . The financing haul amounted to nearly one-fifth of all venture funding raised for African startups the previous year.”

April 30, 2020

On the web

Visa Gives Kenya’s Safaricom ‘Missing Link’ for Global Payments


“Visa and Safaricom have agreed a deal which will connect the Kenyan telecom operator’s M-Pesa financial services platform with Visa’s global network of merchants and cards. Under the deal, which requires regulatory approval, announced on Thursday by both companies, M-Pesa’s 24 million users and 173,000 local merchants will be linked to Visa’s 61 million merchants and its more than 3 billion cards.”

March 30, 2020

On the web

Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Push Africa’s Mobile Money Markets to the Next Level?


“Amidst the countless measures that have been announced recently in response to the coronavirus pandemic, both public and private, you may have missed this announcement from the Central Bank of Kenya: It is cutting transaction fees for mobile money, increasing the amount allowed in mobile wallets and reducing other mobile money tariffs, in an attempt to encourage people to avoid using hard currency and help stem the spread of the virus. This decision is consequential both because of its potential short-term impact on customers and the local economy – and also because of what it suggests about the potential impact of the coronavirus crisis on mobile money markets and digital finance ecosystems in Africa and across the developing world.”

February 10, 2020

On the web

January 31, 2020

October 23, 2019

On the web

The Role of Cash In/Cash Out in Digital Financial Inclusion


“There’s a common assumption in the financial inclusion community that the best way to dethrone cash in emerging markets is to devise more use cases for digital financial services (DFS) that are so compelling that customers will prefer them over cash. While there is evidence that customer-centric products lead to DFS uptake and customer retention, new evidence suggests that cash-in/cash-out (CICO) networks play a critical role in a country’s transition from cash-based to fully digital financial systems.”

October 10, 2019

On the web

Nigeria Is Finally Turning to Telcos to Drive Financial Inclusion Through Mobile Money

Quartz Africa

“The regulatory caution and conservatism often blamed for holding Nigeria back finally looks set to change with the central bank reversing a longstanding stance on declining to issue mobile money licenses to telecoms operators. In the wake of the central bank’s change in tack, MTN, Nigeria’s largest telecoms operator, with more than 60 million customers, has launched its MoMo Agent mobile money service. And, on the back of a $1.2 billion funding boost last year, Airtel Nigeria, Nigeria’s third largest operator, is expected to follow suit. 9Mobile and Globacom, the country’s two other major operators, have also reportedly been issued licenses to become payment service banks.”

October 4, 2019

On the web

After Years of Rapid Growth in Africa We’re About to Enter the Age of Mobile Money 2.0

Quartz Africa

“There is nowhere else in the world that moves more money on mobile phones than Sub-Saharan Africa. The region is currently responsible for an astonishing 45.6% of mobile money activity in the world —an estimate of at least $26.8 billion in transaction value in 2018 alone—this figure excludes bank operated solutions. Mobile money operators like MTN, who also own the mobile network, typically charge in between 0.5%–3% for their various digital services, a small price to pay for the convenience.”

May 10, 2019

On the web

Mobile Money Comes to Nigeria

The Economist

“In the past decade a mobile-money revolution has swept through much of Africa, enabling the unbanked to make transfers, pay bills and save. Half of the world’s 866m mobile-money accounts are in Africa, not counting services which need users to belong to a bank. But not many are in Nigeria, its largest economy and most populous country, with 200m people, where mobile money was used for transactions worth just 1.4% of gdp last year (compared with 44% in Kenya). Four-fifths of Nigerians have never heard of it.”

May 7, 2019

On the web

GCash Breaches 50k QR Merchant Mark

Back End News

“GCash, operated by Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. (Mynt), continuously sets up as many QR-enabled merchants as possible, because it believes that the future of mobile digital payments lies on innovative technologies. “QR payments provide security and convenience to both merchants and their customers,” said JM Aujero, vice president for Merchant Solutions. Our thrust as a mobile wallet is to acquire as many merchant partners as possible — even micro-entrepreneurs such as taho vendors — to future-proof us from the expected boom in usage.””

May 3, 2019

On the web

Kenya’s Safaricom FY Earnings Jump on M-Pesa Growth


“Safaricom, which is partly owned by South Africa’s Vodacom and Britain’s Vodafone, said rapid growth in M-Pesa had offset a sharp slowdown in the growth of its internet access provision, data, business. M-Pesa revenue jumped 19.2 percent to account for 31.2 percent of the company’s revenue of 240.3 billion shillings, Chief Financial Officer Sateesh Kamath told investors at a briefing.”

April 2, 2019

On the web

Zambia Looks to Link up Mobile Money Operators – ITWeb Africa

ITWeb Africa

“The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Zambia Electronic Clearing House Limited (ZECHL) and implemented under the National Financial Switch (NFS), an electronic platform (system) which will link all mobile money operators in a bid to increase financial inclusion among the over 60% unbanked Zambians. The NFS is being established under the National Payment System with the aim of linking with other payment systems (individual operators’ payment systems) without undue restrictions.”

March 25, 2019

On the web

In Conversation With Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom

The Africa Report

“And he is clear that the company needs a successor with yet another set of skills, as the chapter of the ‘ubiquitous platform’ begins. “I have never been a good mergers and acquisitions person, but we will need someone who can spot a deal and grab it,” concludes Collymore. “[We need] someone who understands the financial sector a lot more, if we are to occupy the fintech space, and someone who is not going to be scared of going into other markets.””

March 18, 2019

On the web

Nala Has Built a Hassle-free, Offline Mobile Money Payment Platform for Africa


“In Tanzania, making one send money payment requires a user to enter somewhere between 39-46 digits, a hard enough task for anyone, let alone someone who may be newly adjusting to mobile phone service. Using Nala, users can make payments to anyone on any device, and it only requires a one-time download to start transacting, according to the company. Think of Nala has taken all of the short codes from all of the transaction providers and created a router system that users can operate without having to memorize the different underlying coding. Currently live in Tanzania, with over 100,000 users, Fernandes says that his company has plans to expand to at least two other African countries over the course of 2019.”

March 4, 2019

On the wires

GSMA Report Highlights 20 Per Cent Annual Increase in Mobile Money Accounts to More Than 866 Million Worldwide

“At the end of 2018, there were more than 866 million registered accounts in 90 countries – a 20 per cent increase from 2017. The report also shows that the mobile money industry processed transactions worth US$1.3 Billion per day in 2018, with digital transaction values growing at more than twice the rate of cash transactions, indicating that cash is becoming less central to customers’ lives.”

February 26, 2019

On the wires

GSMA Report Highlights 20 Per Cent Annual Increase in Mobile Money Accounts to More Than 866 Million Worldwide

“The GSMA today unveiled its eighth annual ‘State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money’, offering a current snapshot of the mobile money landscape and highlighting the impact that greater financial inclusion has on lives, economies and innovation, especially in emerging markets. The report provides a comprehensive picture of mobile money adoption and usage around the globe. At the end of 2018, there were more than 866 million registered accounts in 90 countries – a 20 per cent increase from 2017.”

February 20, 2019

On the web

The battle between cash and mobile payments

BBC News

“Nigeria might be Africa’s largest economy, but when it comes to financial matters, people typically favour cash payments over technology. Despite high mobile penetration, only 6% of the population uses mobile phones to make financial transactions. And 60% of Nigerians still do not have a bank account, so they don’t have access to digital services on offer. In contrast, 73% of the population in Kenya have a mobile payment account.”

February 19, 2019

On the web

Mexico pushes mobile payments to help unbanked consumers ditch cash


“The administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador recently announced measures aimed at making financial services more affordable in a nation where more than half the population is unbanked. It is planning a digital payments system run and built by the central bank that will allow Mexicans to make and receive payments through their smartphones free of charge. A pilot roll-out for the platform, known as CoDi, is expected by March.”

February 15, 2019

On the web

Bank of Tanzania Launches Single Payment System


“The system’s implementation process will take 18 months before taking off in June 2020. Launching the platform known as Tanzania Instant Payment System (TIPS), the BoT Deputy Governor (Financial Stability and Deepening), Dr Bernard Kibesse, said the central bank and other payment providers realised the need for interoperability of mobile money services in order to facilitate instant transfers between customers of different service providers.”

January 31, 2019

On the wires

DFS Lab Announces Open Applications for Fintech Hackathon Focused on the Mojaloop Software

Digital Financial Services Lab (DFS Lab), today announced it was hosting a hackathon in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania April 8 to 12. The Hackathon will offer participants an in-depth look Mojaloop, which is open-source software for financial services companies, government regulators, and others taking on the challenges of interoperability and financial inclusion. Interested applicants can apply on the DFS Lab website here.”

January 30, 2019

On the web

Mojaloop Bootcamp Application


“Some of the biggest challenges for retail financial services in developing countries include poor or missing payment APIs, a lack of standardization, and limited interoperability between various mobile money and bank-based domains within the payment system. These problems increase costs, create bad user experiences, and limit use cases. The Gates Foundation are working to create interoperable payments systems for mobile-first emerging markets to address these problems through the Level One Project – a set of principles to guide open and interoperable payment systems, and Mojaloop – open-source software embodying the L1P principles.”

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