BOU Approves International Mobile Money Provider

2029 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
A statement from TerraPay, says with the addition of Uganda, it becomes the only licensed mobile payments switch equipped to deliver cross-border payments to mobile wallets in the East African region.

Bank of Uganda has approved an international mobile money operator, which will enable Ugandans to access mobile money services from their relatives abroad, URN has learnt. Reports indicate that TerraPay, a global clearing and settlement service will be allowed to interconnect mobile account holders and mobile telephone operators to facilitate seamless cross-border funds transfer.


TerraPay is registered and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. It is expected that TerraPay will make it easier for Ugandans in the diaspora to send money to all mobile money services providers in Uganda. TerraPay already operates in Kenya and Tanzania. 


A statement from TerraPay, says with the addition of Uganda, it becomes the only licensed mobile payments switch equipped to deliver cross-border payments to mobile wallets in the East African region. It says Ugandans in the UK, Canada, US, Netherlands, Kenya, Tanzania and other countries can send remittances instantly to Airtel Money, MTN mobile money and Smart Pesa mobile money accounts by visiting the nearest TerraPay partner store. 


For the first time, friends and family of the migrants can receive small value transfers frequently in their mobile wallets and avoid making several trips to agent stores, to collect money. Remittances have played a crucial role in Uganda's economy. According to World Bank, the country received a total of USD 1.08 Billion in 2015. Uganda is also one of the fastest growing mobile money markets with more that 21 million mobile money subscribers.



Ambar Sur, the Founder and Chief Executive TerraPay, says over the last few years mobile money has increasingly become a norm in Uganda, especially for those who were financially excluded earlier. He says they are delighted to bring the convenience of instant cross-border money transfer, directly to mobile wallets for the people of Uganda. 


"TerraPay is committed to providing a fully regulated and a seamless solution to enable cross-border transfers to mobile wallets across emerging markets." said Sur. Uganda Radio Network could not access further details regarding the deal between Bank of Uganda and TerraPay. Efforts to reach the Bank of Uganda Media Relations Officer, Sylvia Juuko were futile as she was reportedly out of office.
 
 
Recent reports have indicated that mobile money adoption in Africa outpaced growth in the rest of the world, with over half of all services globally and more than 40% of adults in active use. In Uganda, a report by Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) found that an average of 18 billion Shillings is transferred through mobile money each day, mostly in small amounts averaging just over 70,000 Shillings.


The Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) report found that by August 2016, the value of mobile money transactions had reached Shillings 3.6 trillion and the balances on mobile money accounts reached Shillings 326 billion. Mobile money service has in the recent past grown to include international inbound remittance transfers to other countries through partners like World Remit, Small World and Western Union.


Another report by Global trade body GSMA in July said mobile money accounts in sub-Saharan Africa have surpassed bank accounts. The report said the growth of mobile money accounts gives a fighting chance for millions of un-banked rural poor to be financially included and benefit from products like savings and loans for their small and mostly informal businesses.