Mobile banking, sports betting lift Kenya's mobile money use
06 September 2016, 08:11
Nairobi - Increased adoption of mobile banking and sports betting have pushed mobile money use in Kenya to a new high, stamping the country's authority globally as the leader in the use of the technology.
Kenyans transacted 15.8 billion U.S. dollars in the period ending to June on mobile money, up from 13.1 billion dollars in the similar period last year, according to latest data from Central Bank released on Monday, an increase analysts attributed to the two innovative uses.
Sports betting, which is conducted via mobile money, has become a craze in Kenya while banks are pushing their customers to mobile banking platforms to cut costs.
Nearly all the 42 commercial banks in the East African nation have mobile banking services linked to mobile money.
The platforms allow customers to withdraw money from their bank accounts into their mobile money accounts and send, pay bills or withdraw from agents.
Similarly, they can deposit money into their mobile money accounts and transfer it to their bank accounts.
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This has become the most convenient way to transact banking business in the East African nation, with major commercial banks noting the technology is contributing heavily to their profits.
On the other hand, there are dozens of sports betting firms as investors capitalize on the growing popularity of bookmaking, eased by mobile money.
According to data from the Betting Control and Licensing Board, the regulator, some five million Kenyans have taken up mobile-based gambling.
Bob Collymore, CEO of Kenya's leading telecom, Safaricom, acknowledges that sports betting is using mobile money a lot, noting that the sector has greatly pushed use of their pioneer service M-Pesa.
During the six months, the largest mobile money transactions were made in March and May, where Kenyans moved 2.7 billion dollars and 2.8 billion dollars respectively.
On average, Kenyans are moving 2.6 billion dollars on mobile money platforms every month compared to 1.9 billion dollars in a similar period last year.