MTN MoMo platform’s self-service strategy pays off

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 06 Jul 2023

MTN South Africa is seeing significant user growth on its Mobile Money (MoMo) financial services platform. It says ATM withdrawals, loans and car licence disc renewals are the most in-demand services.

In an e-mail interview, Bradwin Roper, MTN SA chief financial services officer, told ITWeb the e-wallet service has shown 200% year-on-year user growth over the past two years, with over eight million registered MoMo customers in SA.

The contributing factors, he notes, are the platform’s self-service strategy, as well as its expansion drive to grow the operator’s agent network, to ensure access to MoMo services where people live.

“One of the advantages of MoMo is that the app is network- and device-agnostic, meaning it is available on any network and works on any smartphone or feature phone, as we have USSD functionality as well.

“All services purchases are free to the end-user because MoMo does not charge service fees for any value-added services, unlike most of the commercial banking apps.

“We have added over 50 new products and services to broaden digital inclusion and the use cases for customers are increasing every month, as we service a market that has been previously excluded from the banking system.”

Added services over the past few years include prepaid health vouchers, bus tickets, micro-loans, car licence renewals and retail food vouchers. The platform has been integrated with the Zapper QR Code service and Nedbank ATMs for cash-out of funds.

The car licence disc renewal service was introduced on the platform in 2020. Users are able to scan their existing disc and complete their details on the app.

“Now a fully unbanked citizen can have access to all the services a high-end banking customer has, but at much better value. We will be adding a new business functionality in the coming months to support small business growth in this tough economy,” Roper adds.

While mobile money has successfully been adopted in many African countries, it had previously failed to gain traction in SA.

Experts previously said mobile money services, such as Vodacom's M-Pesa, failed locally due to several barriers, including a banked population that is higher than that of African counterparts.

In September 2016, MTN SA announced it was decommissioning the MoMo offering in the country due to lack of commercial viability. In 2019, MTN relaunched the platform in SA.

“We have proved that there is a place for mobile money in South Africa because of the convenience, value and utility on offer. Most experts focused on the high banking penetration and retailers offering financial services here to make the case against us.

“However, in South Africa we realised that simply doing a copy of the cash, send and payment service, which is what happens in the rest of Africa, would not work for the South African market, so we went for digital services,” concludes Roper.