Effective today September 11, customers of mobile money services will begin earning interest on their mobile money accounts.
The interests to be paid will however be the accumulated interests for the first quarter while interests for the second quarter are expected to be paid on September 18, 2016.
The Bank of Ghana, in August this year, gave the green light for all the four telcos to pay interests on the mobile money accounts by their respective clients.
The demand for interests has also been at the forefront of concerns by mobile money subscribers at a time that patronage of the service is increasing significantly.
Per the directive, the four telcos (MTN, Tigo, Airtel and Vodafone) are to distribute 80 percent [12.2 million cedis] of the total interests earned on floats which were estimated at 15.2 million cedis as at the end of June this year.
The Public Relations Officer of the Bank of Ghana, Bernard Otabil earlier explained to Citi Business News amounts to be received will be relative to a customer’s average daily balance.
“If you are using the average daily balance over the total aggregated balances and that will be applied with the total amounts there is to be shared and that gives you the interest out of that,” he stated.
Telcom operators welcome interest payment
Meanwhile telecom operators who have been speaking to Citi Business News have described the move as welcoming.
They are highly hopeful the development will further increase the patronage of the mobile money services.
The Bank of Ghana’s Payment Systems Department has also revealed that mobile money transactions in Ghana reached 679.17 million cedis as at the end of June 2016.
This also represents an increase of over twenty percent from the end of 2015 which was estimated at 547.96 million cedis.
“We believe that as the mobile money industry expands and serves as a platform to serve the unbanked, customers should be able to enjoy benefits which include interest on the deposits or the balances in their wallets,” the Head of Corporate Sales at Airtel Ghana, Edmund Barwuah told Citi Business News.
He added, “We have been working with the regulator and our partner banks on the module that will ensure that Airtel money customers get paid interest on their balances and we are very happy to champion it.”
Also, the General Manager of Mobile Money services at MTN, Eli Hini has lauded the central bank for its directive for telcos to start paying interests on mobile money accounts.
“It’s been a much awaited approval and we welcome it because we believe that it is an opportunity for new wallet holders to also have benefit from the funds they put on their wallet,” he said.
“Interests are however based on customers’ balances which is the daily balances which is aggregated over a month and over a quarter. So it all works back to the funds that customers have had on their wallet over the period.”
Statistics on mobile money as at June this year
Figures released by the Payment Systems Department of the central bank indicate that the cumulative figure of registered mobile money customers has increased from 13,120,367 in 2015 to 16,428,391 by the end of June this year.
Also, active mobile money customers increased from 4,868,569 to 7,138,069 during the same period.
In addition, the cumulative number of registered Agents has inched from 79,747 at the end of 2015 to 108,531 by the end of June this year.
Further, while total volume of transactions went up from 109,846,033 between January and June 2015 to 222,422,989 for the same period in 2016, the value of the transactions more than doubled from GH¢13,862.20 million cedis to GH¢ 30,785.97 million cedis between the first half of 2015 and 2016.