Mobile money transactions jumped by 121% in 2016 — BoG report

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The Payment Systems Oversight report by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) shows the value of mobile money transactions as of December 2016 reached GH¢78.5billion, indicating a 121.5 percent growth compared to the GH¢35.4billion recorded over the same period in 2015.

The report also shows that the number of registered mobile money customers of the four mobile money network operators—MTN, Tigo, Airtel and Vodafone— reached 19,735,098, showing a growth of 50.42 percent over the 2015 figure of 13,120,367.

The total float balance, which means monies in the wallets of customers, was GH¢1.2billion, indicating a growth of 129.47 percent over the 2015 float balance of GH¢547.96million; and the total interest paid to holders of electronic money wallets in 2016 was GH¢24.79million.

Again, the number of active mobile money customers increased by 70.75 percent – from 4,868,569 in 2015 to 8,313,283 in 2016.

Active registered agents of the four mobile money operators in 2016 stood at 107,415, representing a growth of 90.89 percent over the previous year’s number of 56,270.

The total value of transactions on the mobile money platform as of September 2017 stood at GH₵109billion, which also represents a 112 percent growth over the GH₵51.4billion recorded for the same period in 2016.

The figures highlight the mobile money platform’s importance and its impact on financial inclusion in Ghana, and how it can facilitate progress toward a cash-lite economy.

However, the mobile money payment platform has been bedevilled with many reports of fraud – with some victims even citing staff of the various telecom service providers, as well as some agents, as perpetrators of the crime.

Although the telcos have denied it, reports suggest some employees of the telcos, without authorisation, access the database of mobile money merchants and change the registration details of customers in order to withdraw money from their accounts.

It is estimated that at least five out of ten mobile money subscribers have either experienced one form of fraud or been a target.

In line with this, a study by the Payment Systems Department of the Bank of Ghana has advised mobile money operators and banks to strengthen internal controls to minimise fraud on the platform.

The study further recommends that mobile money operators and banks should act honestly, by presenting all terms and information about mobile money products in a clear and accurate way to aid consumer decision-making.

Again, it recommends that mobile money operators and banks should put in place appropriate and effective procedures for receiving, considering and resolving complaints.

Government has also ordered that all telecom operators re-register their SIM cards to help curb fraud in the industry.

The re-registration exercise is expected to begin sometime this month after the National Identification Authority (NIA) cards become ready.

“It is necessary that the National Identification Authority sees to it that there is re-registration, so that all accounts can be verified from NIA. So, after we certify you from the offices at NIA, then you go back to register as a mobile money user,” Head of IT at the NIA, Matilda Wilson, told the media at the National Cyber Security week, 2017.

“The telcos now have a verified record on you sitting on their database, so they can use that data to move on with their business,” she said.

By Obed Attah Yeboah l thebftonline.com l Ghana