Mobile Money – Banking the Unbanked

All around the world, mobile phones have gone beyond just being a communication device – and so has it in Africa! From just being used for calls and text messages to becoming a technology platform that allows the development of other services, cellular technology has indeed changed the face of Africa.

Mobile money has become very popular to both the unbanked and banked population in Africa due to the safety of money and convenience it provides. It has turned out to be particularly useful in countries where the majority of the population is migrant in nature, where people work in cities and sending money. The most popular services are cash in, cash out, transfer, utility payment and buying airtime and bundles.

11.4 Mn

Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, DRC, Gabon, Kenya and Madagascar represent 93% of the total active base

As at March 31, 2018, Airtel Money had 11.4 Mn active subscribers using the service every month for different services including sending money, receiving money, buying airtime, cash withdrawals and many more.

Distribution Network Airtel Money

For Mobile Money to succeed, a strong network of agents with adequate mobile money float and cash is required. Airtel Money has been able to grow its footprint of agents across the countries where it operates. Customers can deposit money as well as withdraw money from their mobile money wallets. As at March 31, 2018, there were over 240K active agents serving customers; a growth of 49% over the previous year.

Additionally, an aggressive plan to rollout exclusive Airtel Money kiosks/mini-shops kicked off in early 2017 to increase availability of float and cash to customers. Over 10,000 kiosks and mini-shops have been rolled out so far across 13 countries.

Utilities Bill payment

Paying for regular utilities without leaving the comfort of one’s home has been made a reality by Airtel Money. Customers can pay for a wide range of utilities such as electricity, water, fixed data and PayTv along with Telecom services of post-paid bill payments & recharge purchases.

USD 1 Bn

Total amount used for paying different bills in FY 2017-18

Access to Loans

Financial inclusion has always been one of the top priorities for Airtel and the organization continues to traverse the path by giving access to micro loans to all Airtel Money customers, using the Airtel Money Wallets. Customers simply have to dial the Airtel Money USSD code and they will be able to instantly access loans based on their credit rating. Mobile money loans are currently available in 5 countries and during the FY 2017-18, a total of USD 14.6 Mn was disbursed to over one million customers.

Merchant Payments

Still in its nascent stage, Airtel Money has enabled businesses to receive money electronically for goods and services they sell to their customers. In Gabon, Tanzania, Madagascar and Malawi customers are able to purchase goods and services using the Airtel money merchant pay service. The payment service provides businesses the opportunity to reduce the risk of handling cash as well as increase reconciliation efficiency while enhancing convenience and safety to customers.

36 Mn

Transactions done in FY 2017-18

International Money transfer

Airtel customers in Zambia and Malawi can now send money to each other, thanks to the IMT product active in both countries. A partnership with Terapay has already been penned that will enable expansion of the service to other markets such as Tanzania and Congo Brazzaville.

Partnerships with Banks

Banks play an integral part in the Mobile Money ecosystem. In each operating country, a trust bank account is opened in preferred banks, where the E-value in the Airtel Money system has to be backed by actual cash. To enable a faster flow of value between the Trust bank and the channel partners, automation has been embarked on in all Airtel Money Operations. The automation is already enabled in 6 countries including Tanzania, Madagascar, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda &


Our vision is to enrich the lives of customers. Our obsession is to win customers for life through an exceptional experience.

Kenya. Airtel is in the process of expanding the automated allocation of float in the above countries as well as finalize the process in other operations, which include DRC, Gabon and Uganda.

There are also various partnerships at a retail level with banks, which allow smooth flow of money from the banks to the wallet and vice versa.

Robust Airtel Money Platform

Airtel has modernized its Airtel Money platform to enhance system capacity, stability, incorporate standard APIs for third party integration and improved reporting.