What are the benefits of mobile payments in Africa?

Posted by Melanie Horsford on Aug 15, 2017 11:37:13 AM
Melanie Horsford
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The growth of mobile payment systems in Africa is skyrocketing at an astounding rate

In 2002, only 3% of people on the entire continent had mobile phones; by 2010, that had increased to 48%. The GSMA’s latest Mobile Economy report highlights that at the end of 2016, 65% of the world’s population had a mobile subscription, with this total set to reach 5 billion by mid-2017. By 2020, it is anticipated that almost 860 million new subscribers will be added, taking the global penetration rate to 73%.

In developing countries such as those in Africa, we know that 2.5 billion people are unbanked. However, over 1 billion of these people have access to a mobile phone. These are not smartphones; these phones have no bells, whistles or apps. What they do offer their owners is access to goods and services without the need for cash, credit cards or even a checking or savings account – while individuals do have mobile phones, they don’t have bank accounts.

The incremental growth in mobile phone take-up has been less about the technology and more about meeting the needs of its users, who often are without hard currency. Many people living in rural areas don’t have access to traditional financial services, as the nearest bank is a long way away. Mobile phones make it possible for even the poorest and most isolated citizens to engage in commercial activity.

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What are the benefits for businesses wanting to enter Africa?

  • New customers: Lots of them. 50 to 60 million mobile money users mean more customers at more businesses, and higher customer traffic means more sales.
  • Low costs, less overhead: Tola already has platforms set up in East Africa processing over 100 million transactions. Transaction costs are lower than debit or credit card processing fees.
  • Sell anything, anywhere: Whereas people were once limited by sheer distance and limited transportation options, the point of sale can now be as mobile as the money.

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The mobile phone is the key – integration between operators and mobile wallet subscribers allowing the seamless transfer of funds.

Tola has been live and processing transactions since 2015. The core software foundation is built so it can be used worldwide with any wallet solution.


Tola Wallet:

Tola Wallet is a solution that enables seamless transfer of funds between merchants and mobile wallet subscribers. We’re now one of the fastest growing payment intermediaries in Africa. To date, the Tola platform in Africa has processed 100 million transactions equating to funds of over $75 million in value.

Learn more about Tola Wallet, it’s features and how it helps merchants and mobile network operators.


Find out more about Tola Mobile



Topics: Africa, Tola Wallet, Mobile payments, mobile payment systems