Mobile money pay is now most used digital payment platform, data shows 

Mobile money pay now leads as the most used form of digital payment. Photo / Edgar R Batte 

What you need to know:

  • Payments through MTN’s  mobile money pay alone are relative to payments through debit cards and are bigger than any other platform including credit cards and points of sale

Mobile money pay registered one of the largest value in terms of payment of goods and services during the period ended December 2022, according to details sourced from telecoms and official data from Bank of Uganda. 

The details indicate that mobile money pay, operated by MTN and Airtel, registered the largest value among digital and online payment systems, among which include debit and credit cards and points of sale.  

Monitor could only obtain mobile money pay data from MTN. Airtel declined a request for the same, with Mr David Birungi, the telecom’s public relations manager, referring this reporter to data from Bank of Uganda, which does not specifically detail performance of mobile money pay. 

Mr Richard Yego, the MTN Mobile Money managing director, yesterday said the telecom continues to see impressive growth in cashless payments through the mobile money ecosystem, noting that focus has been placed on enhancing the mobile money pay proposition for both merchants and consumers to spar cashless payments. 

During the period, Mr Yego said, MTN recorded a volume of 10.8 million mobile money payments, which returned a value of Shs1.2 trillion.

The value from MTN alone, data indicates, was relative to debit cards and larger than other payment platforms, among them credit cards and points of sale. 

During the period, according to the Bank of Uganda Quarterly Financial Stability Review for December 2022, debit cards recorded the largest value in terms of online and digital payments outside mobile money, ahead of points of sale and credits cards. 

The report indicates that there are 3.1 million active debit cards shared between more than 23 financial institutions, of which a volume of 6.9 million payments and a value of Shs1.33 trillion was recorded. 

Similarly, points of sale, which are spread across the country, recorded 4.7 million payments, which returned a value of Shs855.5b, while credit cards, which total to 99,400, recorded a transaction volume of 320.9 payments and a value of Shs81.9b.

All the above payment platforms registered growth in terms of value and volumes but mobile money, whose figures could be larger with the inclusion of payments through Airtel Money, registered the largest growth with Mr Yego indicating that payments through MTN mobile money had between May 2022 and May 2023 grown by 120 percent and 72 percent in terms of volume and value, respectively.

Mr Yego also indicated that between January and May 2023, MTN had at least 275,000 active merchant codes on its registers, through which a volume of about 7.3 million payments worth Shs670b were conducted. 

On average, he said, MTN now processes 1.8 million transactions with a return of Shs153b per month, which is higher compared to 800,000 transactions worth of Shs90b recorded per month last year. 

However, even with the growth in digital payments, Uganda remains largely a cash economy and Bank of Uganda has indicated it will take long before the country fully transits to a cashless economy.