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MTN Mobile Money Transactions Now Possible Across East Africa

Updated on July 9, 2020
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Ian is a passionate writer and blogger, with interest in money matters and online business

An MTN mobile money booth in Fort portal Uganda
An MTN mobile money booth in Fort portal Uganda

People in East Africa can now send and receive MTN mobile money across the region. This is thanks to MTN’s partnership with a variety of telecom networks that offer a similar e-wallet service. The networks which MTN has partnered with include; Vodacom in Tanzania, Safaricom from Kenya, Eco cash in Burundi, and MTN Rwanda. This is great news for business in the region. We’re however yet to see the service in South Sudan.

According to Ali Monzer, the general manager of mobile financial services MTN Uganda, regional remittance service is an important strategy to increase financial inclusion for all people using mobile technology.

How to send and receive MTN mobile money across the region

In Uganda;

If you’re in Uganda, you need to be an MTN customer with an active mobile money account.

To start the transaction, dial *165*1*2#. A list of destinations is generated. Simply select your preferred destination and follow the prompts.

MTN mobile money tariffs can be accessed from their website.

In Kenya;

If you’re in Kenya, Safaricom makes it possible to send money through M-Pesa to MTN Uganda, Vodacom Tanzania, and MTN Rwanda. All you have to do is be a Safaricom customer.

To send to an MTN subscriber in Uganda, follow these simple steps;

  1. Dial *840#
  2. Enter your Bonga pin
  3. Select send money
  4. Enter the phone number of the recipient (don’t forget the country code, 256)
  5. Enter the amount, followed by your M-Pesa pin to confirm the transaction

To send to MTN Rwanda, follow the steps listed above.

To send money to Vodacom Tanzania, follow the steps below;

  1. Go to the M-Pesa Menu and select Lipa Na M-pesa
  2. Go to the pay bill option
  3. Enter 255255 as the business number
  4. Enter the recipient’s mobile number
  5. Enter the amount and M-Pesa pin to confirm the transaction

M- Pesa rates can be accessed on the Safaricom website.

In Tanzania;

Vodacom has partnered with MTN Uganda and Safaricom in Kenya to enable the transfer of money within the region using your mobile phone.

To Send Money to an MTN customer in Uganda, follow these steps;

  1. Dial *150*00#
  2. Select send money
  3. Select international transfer
  4. Select MTN Uganda
  5. Select Send money
  6. Enter phone number (starting with 256)
  7. Enter reason
  8. Enter amount in Tanzania shillings
  9. Enter pin and confirm

In Rwanda;

MTN customers in Rwanda can send money to MTN Uganda and Safaricom users via mobile money.

Follow the steps below to send money from Rwanda to Uganda and Kenya;

  1. Dial *830#
  2. Enter the recipient mobile number (starting with 256)
  3. Enter amount
  4. You will receive a message showing the and exchange rate.
  5. Press 1 to confirm
  6. You will be prompted to approve the debit
  7. Dial *182#, go to pending approvals
  8. Enter mobile money pin to confirm

It is important to note that customers on different networks send money in their local currencies, and recipients also receive the money in their local currency. However, this is subject to a forex conversion rate. Charges for sending money vary depending on the amount being sent. The different telecom networks usually publish the transfer rates on their websites.

Why electronic wallet services are important for business in East Africa

East Africa is a fast-growing economic region, thanks to a wide range of local and foreign investments. The region is rich with minerals like gold, petroleum, etc. These make manufacturing and industrial development lucrative. In addition, the governments in the region have set up compelling tax incentives aimed at attracting both local and foreign investors.

However, the outstanding factor that makes East Africa an attractive economic hub is the dynamic financial system that facilitates fast, reliable, and secure money transfer. Originally investors relied on banks to make money transactions. While secure, this system can be slow and mostly favors big-money investors. Often, the less educated businessmen or those with smaller capital stay away from banks. This exclusion greatly hinders trade and economic growth because the majority of the businesses are of small capital. Such businesses are usually owned by people with less formal education.

The recent introduction of electronic wallet services like MTN mobile money, that allow people to send and receive money instantly using their mobile phones has revolutionized business transaction in the region. All one needs is a phone. Even a basic feature phone is enough to activate the service.

A big advantage of the electronic wallet services is how close they are to the people. There are booths for electronic wallet transactions almost everywhere, and usually with no long ques or paperwork to endure.

This makes them appealing to everyone regardless of their social status. This is very important for financial inclusion, which will ultimately result in economic growth.

Mobile technology continues to expand in the region with many players entering the market. In the same way, electronic wallet services continue to evolve and grow in the region. They are making instant money transfer easy and affordable and therefore promoting trade. This has significantly improved small businesses and the lives of people in general.

In the foreseeable future, these services are likely to continue transforming the lives of people in the region. This gives traditional financial institutions like banks something to think about. As competition becomes steeper with more telecom networks getting on board, it is expected that the financial services in East Africa will get even better.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Ian Batanda

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