By Silvia Nyambura
Two of Uganda’s giants in the banking and telecommunications sector have gone into a partnership to offer Mobile Money ATM cash out services to their customers in an initiative that is aimed at promoting financial inclusion for all. The partnership between Crane Bank and MTN Uganda allows MTN customers to withdraw money from Crane Bank’s ATMs using their phones whether or not they hold a Crane Bank account.
How it works
To access the ATM cash out service, customers will go through a two part process. On the phone, the customer has to dial *165#, select ATM withdrawal under the menu then select 1 to generate a 4 digit PIN code which the customer will use at the ATM machine to withdraw cash without a card. Once the customer goes to the ATM machine, he/she will select Mobile money, then MTN Mobile money; enter their phone number, the amount they wish to withdraw and then type in their PIN code to withdraw cash.
MTN Chief Marketing Officer, Ernst Fonternel while speaking at the launch event held on Thursday October 24, 2013 said: “MTN Mobile Money is making a significant contribution in realizing real achievements in respect of financial inclusion in Uganda and we are proud to spearhead a new dimension in Mobile Money convenience through partnering with banks to continue giving Ugandans world class and universal access to Mobile Money services.”
According to Fonternel, telecom companies are huge drivers of business velocity. With transactions in excess of Ushs 28 million per month and 4.7 million registered users, MTN Mobile Money has revolutionized the way people live and do business in Uganda. On the other hand, Crane Bank which has 34 branches and has been working to expand its geographic footprint has been successful in bringing a large number of non-banking populations into the banking mainstream and its increasing footprint across the country will ensure more Ugandans will be able to use the cash out service.
Crane Bank Deputy Chairman, Sudhir Ruparelia, speaking on the sidelines of the event said: “Mobile phones are increasingly becoming the device of choice for millions of Ugandans when it comes to managing their money. Being able to access your Mobile Money through an ATM opens up a whole new portal of banking effectively turning your mobile into an e-wallet with the convenience of being able to withdraw money 24 hours a day 7 days a week.”
Ruparelia says the partnership will also go a long way in ensuring money is always available for customers when they need it. “MTN has many agents but the agents once in a while run out of money. Crane Bank on the other hand has huge liquidity so chances of money running out are very slim. We are looking to add value to our customers through total integration of services to enable them access money faster and the second phase of this partnership will involve integration of our over the counter services with MTN Mobile Money account. This will allow MTN customers pay in as well as withdraw money from their Mobile Money over the Crane Bank counter,” he added.
Statistics from Bank of Uganda (BoU) indicate that Mobile money services continue to grow recording 32.6 million transactions which translated to Ushs 1.65 trillion in the month of September 2013 alone. In that same month, there were 13.2 million mobile money customers and 51,000 agents registered. Additionally, excise collections from Mobile Money transfers for the first quarter of financial year 2013/2014 were recorded at Ushs 850 million.
According to the Acting Director Commercial banking at BoU, Godfrey Yiga Masajja, this demonstrates the power of Mobile Money in achieving financial inclusion for all in line with the central bank’s strategy. “Automated financial services reduce errors of fraud while providing fast reliable and safe ways of sending and receiving money. However, they also come with new operational risks like vulnerability to cyber crimes which is why BoU is currently working on guidelines that will help monitor the Mobile Money platform,” said Masajja.