Mobile money transactions climb 15pc in 11 months


M-Pesa customers increased by 2.2 million to hit 30.5 million by March 2022.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Mobile money transactions grew by 15.2 percent in the 11 months to November last year compared to a similar period in 2021, underlining the importance of cashless deals.

Data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) show the value of mobile money transactions hit Sh7.2 trillion for the 11-month period up from Sh6.24 trillion.

In the report, the volume of mobile money transactions grew by 4.9 percent to 2.07 billion transactions from 1.97 billion.

The growth defies the economic slowdown witnessed in the first three quarters of 2022 and the move by the CBK to reinstate charges on low-value cash transactions in January 2021. The apex bank scrapped mobile money transfer charges on transactions below Sh1,000 in March 2020 to boost the use of mobile money amid concerns use of cash could spread Covid-19.

The CBK had also scrapped charges on money transfers between mobile money wallets and bank accounts to ease mobile payments but has this month reinstated the charges.

It said the waiver had achieved its target of growing the use of mobile money as well as protecting users from high transaction charges.

It said the number of Kenyans actively using mobile money increased by more than 6.2 million during the waiver period, while the monthly volume and value of person-to-person transactions increased from 162 million transactions worth Sh234 billion to 440 million worth Sh399 billion.

Further, the monthly volume and value of transactions between payment service providers and banks increased from 18 million worth about Sh157 billion to more than 113 million worth Sh800 billion.

“This outcome confirms that the mitigation measures were timely and effective, and resulted in significant benefits across the financial system.

The resumption of revised charges is aimed at building on these gains, facilitate a transition towards sustainable growth of the mobile money ecosystem, and ensuring affordability of payment services for Kenyans,” said the CBK.

The increased use of mobile payments comes despite economic slowdown seen in decelerating growth for the fifth consecutive quarter in the third quarter of 2022.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows economic activity slowed by nearly half to 4.7 percent in the third quarter to September compared to 9.3 percent in a similar period last year.

The slowdown was driven by high inflation, election jitters occasioned by the August 2022 polls, a biting drought and a weak shilling that sharply raised import costs.