Nairobi – Kenyans transacted 23 billion U.S. dollars (KES 2.3 trillion) on mobile money in the period leading to October, a rise of 4 billion dollars from a similar period last year, latest data from the Central Bank of Kenya showed Tuesday.
The 10-month transactions, which are equal to what East African nation citizens transacted in the entire 2014, indicate that the country is set to break a new record on use of mobile money this year.
Kenya holds the global record on mobile money use, which has made the country to offer lessons to other nations on the use of technology.
Kenyans use mobile money to pay bills, loans, save, transfer money from their bank accounts, pay school fees and public transport vehicles fare.
Mobile money is, therefore, at the heart of every transactions Kenyans make, stifling the use of plastic money, though cash is still the king.
During the 10 months, according to the CBK data, the highest transaction was recorded in October, where 2.51 billion dollars was moved via the mobile phone.
This was the first time in the history of the technology that such amount of money has been transacted on the phone in the nation.
Use of mobile money, however, has been surging every month with average transactions standing at 2.2 billion dollars, up from 1.9 billion dollars last year, according to the apex bank.
Analysts attributed the rise in mobile money use to increase in number of players in the sector from three to six and intensified promotion of the service. The service providers include Safaricom, Airtel, Orange, Equitel, Tangaza and Mobikash.
Airtel, on the other hand, comes second with about three million subscribers and 10,000 agents as of September.
Following in third place is new entrant Mobikash, which has about 15,000 agents and over 1.7 million customers.
The information technology expert noted that use of the service this year may surpass the 27 billion dollars mark.
“If subscribers transact an average of 2.2 billion dollars a month, then it means in November and December they will move at least 4.4 billion dollars. This add to 23 billion dollars it comes to 27.4 billion dollars, which is a new record.”
The number of mobile money subscribers as of October stood at 28.5 million, up from 27.3 million in September, according to the CBK.
The number of agents, on the other hand, stood at 140,612 in October, up from 138,131 while monthly transaction surged to 103 million, up from 81 million in January.