Mobile money payments in Kenya took off in the first half of this year as users continued to embrace the cashless system as part of a measure to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The data by the Central Bank of Kenya shows the growth of Sh190 billion in mobile money payments in the period between January to June this year compared to a similar period last year.
According to the monthly transaction data by CBK, Kenya’s mobile money transactions jumped to Sh3.26 trillion during the period under review compared to Sh3.06 trillion between July to December last year.
The amount of mobile money moved in the first six months of the year was a 52 per cent growth compared to the similar period last year when only Sh2.1 trillion was transacted.
Even so, the monthly transaction dropped in June to Sh532.63 billion compared to Sh536.70 in May. This means the country recorded a daily mobile money transition worth Sh17.8 billion.
The country moved the highest ever rate of mobile money transaction of Sh605.70 billion in December last year, translating to a daily rate of Sh19.5 billion.
Data from the apex bank shows that in total, Kenyans moved $50 billion (Sh5.4 trillion) through their phones in 2020, driven by relief measures on mobile phone payments to help to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The value of mobile money transactions in Kenya in 2020 marked a 20 per cent rise from $40 billion (Sh4.3 trillion) in the previous year.
This means that an average of $140 million was transacted on mobile phones by Kenyans daily between January and December 2020.
The number of registered mobile money accounts increased by six million to 67.8 million accounts at the end of June 2021 from 61.7 million at the end of June 2020.
Similarly, the volume of mobile money transactions increased to 175.8 million transactions in June this year, from 143.1 million transactions in June 2020.
Due to the increased popularity of mobile money services, Kenya’s active mobile money agents increased to 301,457 agents in June, the highest level on record, up from 237,637 agents in the same period a year ago.
Safaricom’s M-Pesa service is the most widely used mobile money platform in Kenya, commanding more than 90 per cent of the total transactions.
The platform has over 28.31 million active customers based in Kenya and more than 247,000 agents spread across the country.
M-Pesa generated Sh82.65 billion in revenue for the giant telecommunications company in the last financial year.
A 2020 report by American research firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) reveals that Kenya and Ghana have the second and third highest mobile payment usage in the world respectively, after China.
The survey shows estimates that both nations contributed a huge chunk to the value of global mobile financial services transactions in 2020, which it estimated to be between $15 trillion and $20 trillion.