The popularity of mobile money services in the Kenyan market is unprecedented. The sector surpassed expectations, and can solely be linked to the launch of M-PESA that saw the announcement of similar products from other mobile operators and banks.
In the second quarter of the 2018/2019 financial year, the country had 31.6 million active mobile money subscriptions. The next quarter, which ended on March 31 saw the number rise to 32.0 million. However, the value of the amount transacted remained generally the same at KES 2.122 trillion and KES 2.1 trillion for the third and second quarters, respectively.
The Communications of Authority (CA) has also reported a drop in the number of mobile money agents. The third quarter registered 223,084 agents, a drop from 223,931 reported in the previous quarter. Airtel Money and Safaricom’s M-PESA were the most hit as each lost more than 1500 agents between the two back to back quarters.
Telkom Kenya’s T-Kash, on the other hand, saw a notable rise in the number of agents from 24,744 in the Oct-Dec 2018 quarter to 27,766 agents in the third quarter. However, T-Kash’s active subscriptions dropped from 114,807 to 103,585 – although the quarter saw an increased number of transactions. Telkom has been trying to popularize the service and even incentivized its offerings for customers who send money back and forth using M-PESA.
On the whole, consumers spent KES 1.84 trillion to buy goods and services using mobile money services. Person to person transfers were valued at KES 737.0 billion.
M-PESA still rules the space, and will likely do in the future thanks to the numbers it commands and the robust nature of the product that is Safaricom’s second money maker after voice. Airtel Money’s numbers in terms of active subscriptions are second, although third place holder Equitel pushes more numbers in terms of the value of transactions. Airtel Money has also been plagued with cases of internal fraud that was reported in a prospectus submitted to the London Stock Exchange. The issue is said to have affected the performance of Airtel Africa after being listed.