Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

FinTech

MTN Mobile Money returns to SA

Article Image
MTN has relaunched its Mobile Money offering, MoMo, in South Africa after previously retiring the service due to poor performance.

In a statement about the launch, the mobile operator said that MoMo would help around 11 million South Africans who do not have access to financial services.

"At the heart of our renewed venture into the improved mobile money space in South Africa is our passion to provide value-added services that meet our customers' needs. As part of this, a major focus area is to provide our customers with secure, reliable and accessible financial services," said Felix Kamenga, chief officer of MTN SA Mobile Financial Services.

The MoMo platform -- which is powered by UBank and which uses the Ericsson Wallet Platform -- enables customers to use their mobile phones, and other devices, to send and receive money, purchase airtime and prepaid electricity, and pay for their municipal bills and DSTV subscriptions. MTN believes this makes MoMo appealing to SA's banked community as well "who might not enjoy the burden of withdrawing cash from their accounts".

The operator believes that this time the mobile money offering will succeed.

"The local market is characterized by significant population growth, a youthful demographic, and relatively high levels of data and digital adoption. We believe that all these factors, coupled with the unrivaled quality and coverage of our network, bodes well for us to offer a viable mobile money service in South Africa,” added Kamenga.

Felix Kamenga, chief officer of MTN SA Mobile Financial Services
Felix Kamenga, chief officer of MTN SA Mobile Financial Services

MoMo has been successful for MTN in other parts of Africa but failed to gain traction in South Africa when it was originally launched, and the service was cancelled in SA in September 2016 due to a lack of commercial viability.

South Africans have known that MTN wanted to bring MoMo back to the country since AfricaCom 2018, when MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter announced plans to relaunch MoMo locally. MTN confirmed in December 2019 that a January 2020 launch was on the cards. (See MTN Relaunching Mobile Money in SA in 2020 and AfricaCom 2018 Day 1: The Roads, the Chase & a Monoblock Phone.)

The new mobile money offering will be available to all South African citizens, not just MTN customers. It is also available to both smartphone and feature phone users. Users can self-register via USSD or download the free MoMo app on the Google Play Store. MTN is still awaiting final approval from Apple to register the app on the Apple App Store but believes this will be finalized within the next couple of weeks. Customers can also register directly with a MoMo agent at any MTN-branded store.

MoMo users can cash funds in or out at MTN-branded stores, at UBank branches, or through their own banks via electronic funds transfers (EFTs).

MTN is also planning to get MoMo into retail stores and said this will take a phased approach.

"Adding South Africa's well-known retail brands to the platform will be implemented from May 2020 onwards," it said in a statement.

Depending on the type of MoMo account opened, daily cash transactions are limited to between R3,500 ($236) and R20,000 ($1,350), while the monthly account limit is capped at between R20,000 ($1,350) and R40,000 ($2,700).

MoMo uses biometrics such as voice and facial recognition to authenticate users, and funds are also protected by a PIN number. The details of MoMo customers are cross-checked with the population database at the South African Department of Home Affairs.

"Another very important part of this journey for us was to ensure that we contribute positively towards enabling job creation," said Kamenga. "MoMo currently has about 50 dedicated agents that are based at selected MTN-branded stores, and we continue to recruit. We expect to have around 400 agents in all stores by the beginning of the second quarter of this year."

MTN also has plans to add more value-added services. "We look forward to bring a range of other services to MoMo customers in the near future including loyalty rewards, a savings account, and loans," concluded Kamenga.

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Safaricom launches M-Pesa 'super app'

Safaricom has launched its long-awaited M-Pesa 'super app' with new features like offline mode as well as mini-apps within the app.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Nigeria's Bankly

Nigerian startup Bankly is digitizing cash for people who work in the informal sector and helping unbanked Nigerians save money, invest and gain access to credit and other financial services.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: May 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context and analysis about new licenses for operators in Ethiopia and Uganda, and Nigeria's 5G rollout plans.

Story

Omdia View: April 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context around Ethiopia's telecoms licensing process, Millicom's plans to exit Tanzania and Ghana, and Airtel Africa's successful capital raise.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

AfricaCom perspectives

Story

Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

Story

Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Story

How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

North Africa Com
July 13-14, 2021
Virtual Event
Asia Tech x Singapore
July 13-16, 2021
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Africa Tech Festival
November 8-12, 2021
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Technologies and business models to connect the next billion

Nearly half the planet remains unconnected at a time when COVID-19 has forced people’s reliance on the Internet and digital technologies higher than ever before. Bridging the digital divide to provide Mobile Internet access – the main driver of digital inclusion – is exceedingly important in the current context. Overcoming this connectivity crisis represents a growth opportunity for Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to expand their services outside of the crowded, highly competitive urban markets.

In this webinar we will focus on solutions that help MNOs close both the coverage gap and the usage gap.

Key topics include:

  • What are the barriers to overcome increased Mobile Internet adoption?
  • How to match deployments cost with expected revenue?
  • Operator success story

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up