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Mobile subscriptions jump 3.1% in June

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The country’s mobile led payment systems subscriber base surged by 3.1 percent in June 2017 to hit four million as more Malawians embrace mobile money concept, the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has said.

In its June 2017 National Payment Systems report, RBM said mobile money services are benefiting from mobile phone penetration facilitating transfer of low value funds between mobile money subscribers.

RBM says subscribers are also enjoying other services such as purchase of goods and services through mobile payments.

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“The outturn is equivalent to 50 percent of the adult population in the country, which demonstrates that mobile payment services have positively contributed to access to finance by the general public.

“However, it is observed that despite growth in the number of subscribers, low levels of income and other factors are contributing to low usage levels of the service as active subscribers within the past 30 days stood at 22.1 percent of the total subscriber base,” RBM said.

The central bank further said in the first half of 2017, the transaction volume and values of mobile network operator mobile payments significantly increased by 37 percent and 34 percent, respectively compared to 29 percent and 34 percent increase recorded during a similar period in 2016.

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This, the bank, has attributed to an increase in the subscriber base registered in both periods following electronic payments awareness campaigns carried by the RBM and other stakeholders through the National Taskforce on Electronic Payments, beginning 2016.

“More significant increase in transaction flows are expected in future following the campaigns as the general public country-wide become more aware of cashless payments,” RBM said.

The bank further said the subscriber base for bank-led mobile payments slightly increased by 2.0 percent to 581,244 in June 2017, adding that both the transaction volumes and values rose by 25.9 percent to 1.6 million and 21.7 percent to K15.2 billion.

Unlike mobile money payments, bank-led mobile payments enables customers to use mobile devices to remotely access banking services such as loans, savings, deposits, withdraws, funds transfers, bill payments and inquiries.

However, customers require an account at a bank to access these services as they are only value adding to the traditional banking products.

“However, the subscriber base for bank-led mobile payments shows highest subscription by retail subscribers as they accounted for 99.9 percent, of the subscriber base whereas corporate subscribers were least in subscribing to the service with a share of not more than 0.1 percent.

“In terms of usage, over 83.7 percent of the total volume of transactions were retail bill payments and airtime top ups whereas 92.0 percent of transaction values were on account of funds transfers. Bank-led mobile payment transactions by corporate subscribers remained insignificant as they accounted for less than 0.02 percent of both total volume and value of transactions,” RBM said.

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