Market News

Mobile deals up by Sh307 billion in nine months


E-commerce deals are largely driven by growth in online shopping. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The value of cash transacted through mobile phones rose by Sh307.16 billion over nine months ended September, largely driven by growth in e-commerce.

Mobile payments increased the highest rate in three years at 10.48 percent between January and September 2019, hitting nearly Sh3.24 trillion from Sh2.93 trillion a year ago.

This means Kenyans transacted an average of Sh11.86 billion daily through mobile payment channels largely pay bill and till numbers. This was Sh1.13 billion or 10.53 percent more than Sh10.73 billion in the same period of 2018.

Stephen Nduati, who headed the national payments system at the CBK for more than a decade and now works as an independent consultant on mobile money regulation, said the efficiency of mobile money platforms continue to drive growth in transactions.

“We are moving fast towards digitising money. The first few years, people were not very comfortable but today, the comfort of a bigger population with digital money continue to increase,” he said.

“Initially growth was largely coming from new users, but now we are seeing increased frequency of use by existing users.” Unlike during the formative years when the mobile money platforms were largely used for person-to-person (P2P) cash transfers, they are now increasingly being used to initiate and cut business deals such as purchase of goods and services as well as processing of instant short-term loans.

E-commerce deals are largely driven by growth in online shopping as well as increased uptake of instant low-value unsecured mobile loans.

Major sectors of the economy such as financial services, retail and wholesale trade, agriculture and health have integrated mobile platforms such as M-Pesa into their payment systems owing to convenience and speed.

The CBK does not break down the share by mobile operators, but latest data by Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) indicate M-Pesa controlled 78.36 percent of the value of transactions in the April-June 2019 period.