VALUE ADDED SERVICES
By John Churu , Gaborone, Botswana
Orange Money Botswana has announced that its customer numbers have reached the 300, 000 mark – a significant proportion of Botswana’s total population of just over two million.
Orange Botswana said as at July, there were 294 124 customers on Orange Money, constituting 64% of the market share.
The services allow Orange Money subscribers easy access to funds 24 hours a day, bringing new point-of-sale, online and ATM transaction options to consumers. The facility was initially meant to llow Orange Money customers to use their mobile phones to transfer funds to any mobile phone subscriber in or outside the country, buy airtime and pay bills, pay for goods and services such as Dstv, buying of prepaid electricity, payment of postpaid bills and insurance premiums with insurance companies like BIC, as well as payment of salaries and allowances.
Delivering the statement, the Orange Botswana Public Relations and Foundation Manager, Boga Chilinde-Masebu said the service had exceeded initial projections.
“This service has proven to be an effective financial inclusion tool. We can now see a significant number of people without bank accounts being able to save money, send and receive money and perform financial transactions through their mobile phones,” she said.
In 2013 Orange partnered with Visa Incorporation to launch the Orange Money Visa Card, which took the mobile banking platform to a whole new level, thus taking a step further towards improving access to financial services.
“To date, we are the only telecommunications company that has the Visa card as a part of their mobile banking offering,” Chilinde-Masebu said.
The Orange Money Visa card operates like a bank card, customers can withdraw money from any Visa ATM and swipe for goods and services at any point of service (POS) in stores. In addition, one can request for a virtual card, which will allow them to shop online.
“We would like to bring more partners on board with Orange Money, increasing the functionality of Orange Money. There is definitely more to come from our Orange Money platform,” she said.
“This is a significant milestone in Visa’s strategy to drive financial inclusion,” Hannes Van Rensburg, Visa’s head of digital solutions for emerging markets, said in the release days when the the facility was introduced in East Africa “The program will contribute to the mobile money revolution in Africa, enabling many more people to access the benefits of the formal financial system.”
Accordingly, developing countries in Africa and the Middle East are among the first target markets for Orange and Visa to deploy cross-over prepaid products and services, the release said, helping to drive economic growth and financial inclusion by migrating cash spend to electronic payments. Orange Botswana is one of the three mobile telephony operators in the country. The others are Mascom and beMobile.