Uptake and usage of mobile money transactions continues to rise, according to figures from the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).
The figures show that as of April 2017, the number of mobile money agents was higher than any other access points combined.
In its May National Payment System Report, RBM indicates that mobile network operator (MNO)-led payment products which were rolled out a few years ago have grown much faster than conventional banking facilities.
In the report, RBM says the development is an opportunity for commercial banks to take advantage of agency banking, which is affordable, to increase their footprints nationwide.
Reads the report: “Agency banking coupled with MNO-led mobile payment solutions can greatly ease access to financial services and hence help attain financial inclusion.”
During the review period, the number of subscribers for MNO-led mobile payment schemes recorded a marginal increase of one percent to 3.9 million while the number of active subscribers stood at 32.4 percent of registered users during the previous 90 days.
In an interview, one mobile money agent Harold Zabula, of Blantyre said mobile money transactions have proved handy for both rural and urban masses.
“It is no secret that people have embraced mobile money evidenced by the increase in the use of mobile wallet. I transact about 100 mobile money transactions in a day. This is an increase from the 20 or 30 that I used to transact two years ago,” he said.
Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) executive director Lyness Nkungula is on record having said that the demand for retail banking services is on the rise while brick-and-mortar bank locations are stagnant, an indication that customers are using online and mobile banking services with greater frequency.
She said: “Customers at physical banks are becoming dissatisfied with standing in long lines, waiting for feedback as more people choose to bank while at home. Retail branches will likely decrease in usage.” n