Market News

Kenyan men lead in usage of mobile money

mpesa

Safaricom employee displays the M-Pesa money transfer service on a smartphone inside a mobile phone care centre in Nairobi on November 22, 2018. PHOTO | AFP

Summary

  • Uptake of mobile money services is greater among men than women in Kenya, making the former the most profitable segment for telecommunications firms’ financial services divisions.
  • The report found that men also use mobile money services more, including sending money to relatives. 
  • Men use the services to perform various transactions such as taking loans, buying food, sending money to relatives or friends and making remittances to savings accounts.

Uptake of mobile money services is greater among men than women in Kenya, making the former the most profitable segment for telecommunications firms’ financial services divisions.

A study by telco’s international association Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) shows that mobile phone ownership in the country stands at 94 percent for men and 88 percent for women respectively.

Mobile money account ownership on the other hand is 94 percent and 87 percent for men and women respectively.

The report found that men also use mobile money services more, including sending money to relatives. The greater use and uptake of the services among men is also replicated in other countries.

“Despite these promising signs, overall, female mobile money users – defined as both mobile money account owners and over the counter (OTC) users – are using mobile money for a smaller range of activities than their male counterparts,” the report reads in part.

“This is true even in Kenya, a mature mobile money market where 30-day active rates are similar among men and women.”

Men use the services to perform various transactions such as taking loans, buying food, sending money to relatives or friends and making remittances to savings accounts.

The report found that women in Kenya, as in other sampled markets, are mostly recipients rather than senders of money using mobile phones.

“Across all eight survey countries, male mobile money users have similar levels of sending and receiving money, or are more likely to send, whereas in four of the eight survey countries (Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and Senegal), women are more likely to receive money than send it,” the report says.

The findings signal the economic inequality between the two genders, with men traditionally holding most of the wealth. The report relied on multiple sources including data from Safaricom whose mobile money platform M-Pesa has the most users in the country.

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