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MTN, Ozow lock in MoMo partnership

By , ITWeb
Africa , South Africa , 12 Nov 2020

MTN has joined forces with digital payments company Ozow to make it easier for Mobile Money (MoMo) customers to load funds onto their mobile wallet without the need for a credit card.

The Pan-African telco re-launched its MoMo platform in January, after it killed it off in September 2016, as it had failed to gain ground.

MTN MoMo was originally launched in 2012, when MTN partnered with the South African Bank of Athens, Pick n Pay and Boxer stores to offer a mobile money solution enabling the opening of simple bank accounts via phones.

As part of MoMo’s subsequent re-launch, the mobile operator partnered with Ubank, a financial service provider with a strong presence in rural areas as well as mining communities in SA.

In its third quarter results, the MTN Group revealed it had surpassed the 40 million MoMo subscribers mark, an addition of 3.5 million in the quarter. In SA, MTN said MoMo crossed the one million user milestone in June.

In terms of the latest venture, Ozow has partnered with MoMo to offer an instant EFT payment option for USSD users to make a deposit directly from their bank account into the MoMo Wallet.

Ozow CEO and co-founder Thomas Pays states consumers are seeking greater access to digital financial services in the wake of this year’s events and the impact of the pandemic.

“We see this partnership as one more step in our efforts at displacing cash and enabling greater digital and financial inclusion for all South Africans. The rapid growth of mobile money services this year points to the growing demand among South Africans for safe and efficient ways to store, send and spend money via their mobile device."

Even though the African continent is considered as the centre of the global mobile money industry, mobile money offerings don’t have a strong track record in Southern Africa.

Data from the GSM Association suggests there are 469 million registered mobile money users in Sub-Saharan Africa, transacting 23.8 billion times at a value of $456.3 billion in 2019 – nearly two-thirds of the global total. However, Southern Africa accounted for only 2% of registered mobile money accounts in Sub-Saharan Africa, pointing towards tremendous growth potential.

Felix Kamenga, chief officer of MTN SA mobile financial services, believes SA is fast establishing itself as a primary hub for mobile money.

“We continue to introduce innovative new features to benefit our users, with a number of new services having rolled out over the past few months. Our partnership with Ozow is another step toward making it easier, safer and more convenient for millions of South Africans to conduct essential and convenient transactions via their mobile device using a simple USSD number, or in-app.”

Pays adds: “Any efforts at greater digital and financial inclusion in South Africa need a mobile-first strategy. Smartphone penetration in South Africa reached 90% this year, but that leaves 10% still using feature phones.

“To support this customer segment, we have worked with MTN to enable a USSD service from which they can load funds to their wallet quickly and safely. We see this as another positive step toward the mass adoption of digital financial services in South Africa and it supports our efforts at displacing cash for the benefit of all.”

Ozow’s instant EFT payment option is now live on MTN MoMo.

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