New MTN-Ozow partnership makes mobile money easier for South Africans

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Digital payments company Ozow has announced a partnership with MTN Mobile Money (MoMo), which will make it easier for consumers to load funds onto their mobile wallet without the need for a credit card.

Thomas Pays, CEO and co-founder at Ozow, says consumers are seeking greater access to digital financial services in the wake of this year’s events and the impact of the pandemic. “We see this partnership as one more step in our efforts at displacing cash and enabling greater digital and financial inclusion for all South Africans. The rapid growth of mobile money services this year points to the growing demand among South Africans for safe and efficient ways to store, send and spend money via their mobile device.”

MTN MoMo was launched at the beginning of 2020 and crossed the one million user milestone in June. It offers users an easy way to send money to friends and family members as well as access to a range of value-added services such as purchasing prepaid electricity, renewing car licence discs, and purchasing products online through a network of affiliated e-commerce partners. 

Felix Kamenga, Chief Officer of MTN SA’s Mobile Financial Services, says South Africa is fast establishing itself as a primary hub for mobile money. “We continue to introduce innovative new features to benefit our users, with a number of new services having rolled out over the past few months. Our partnership with Ozow is another step toward making it easier, safer and more convenient for millions of South Africans to conduct essential and convenient transactions via their mobile device using a simple USSD number, or in-app.” 

Africa is the centre of the global mobile money industry. Data from the GSMA suggests there are 469 million registered mobile money users in sub-Saharan Africa, transacting 23.8 billion times at a value of $456.3-billion in 2019 – nearly two-thirds of the global total. However, Southern Africa accounted for only 2% of registered mobile money accounts in sub-Saharan Africa, pointing towards tremendous growth potential.

“Any efforts at greater digital and financial inclusion in South Africa needs a mobile-first strategy,” says Pays. “Smartphone penetration in South Africa reached 90% this year, but that leaves 10% still using feature phones. To support this customer segment, we have worked with MTN to enable a USSD service from which they can load funds to their wallet quickly and safely. We see this as another positive step toward the mass adoption of digital financial services in South Africa and supports our efforts at displacing cash for the benefit of all.”

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