M-commerce the new bank

By Gregory Gondwe, Blantyre, Malawi

Airtel Malawi Deputy Managing Director Maurice Newa told the media yesterday that phone mobile financial services will soon take over from banks.

“We have 2.9 million subscribers now on Airtel Money, while there are only 500,000 bank accounts in the country,” said Newa. “Mobile commerce has completely transformed the face of banking.”

Newa said services such as Airtel Money, which are not only fast but safe, give large segment of the unbanked population easy access to financial services in line with Reserve Bank of Malawi’s policy of financial inclusion.

He said this when presided over the re-launching of Mobile Money Platform as the company tries to market the facility more as a way of trying to improve on the lukewarm reception it suffered when it was launched for the first time earlier this year.

The company drove several residential areas in Blantyre in an effort to sell Airtel Money services to the residents in the commercial city.

During those stopovers, Airtel officials were explaining that the facility provides consumers a platform access products such as mobile banking, service payments, phone top ups and money transfer services.

Newa said Airtel aims at facilitating faster growth of the economy, as transactions through Airtel Money are conducted within 30 seconds.

Newa said the mobile phone handset facility can be used at any time of the day making cash available to people anywhere in Malawi.

One consumer in the locations where Airtel team stopped testified that she is already enjoying utilising the facility as she is now able to pay her water bills using Airtel Money.

Newa said from the first week of November, consumers will also be able to pay their electricity bills through the facility.

Airtel Malawi officials disclosed that at the moment the service has over 3,000 agents across the country and more will be identified which gives clients a wider choice on where to access cash.

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