Half of Kenyan adults using mobile phones to make payments

More than half of Kenyan adults use mobile phones to carry out payment transactions, a new World Bank report states.

The 2014 Global Findex report released yesterday reveals that out of 75 per cent Kenyan adults who have accounts with various financial facilities, 58 per cent have mobile money accounts. The adults do their financial transactions using mobile phones such as to pay for goods and services.

World Bank consultant and one of the authors of the report, Dorothe Singer said the increasing mobile money accounts penetration in Kenya demonstrate how the system can increase financial inclusion, especially among the poor and the women.

“Overall, the number of adults with accounts increased to 75 per cent in 2014, up from 42 percent in 2011. Respondents interviewed said they have accounts either with financial institutions, or mobile telecommunications and other recognised systems,” said Ms Singer.

She added that great progress has been made in expanding financial inclusion in Kenya between 2011 and 2014, a situation largely driven by mobile money accounts.

“In 2014, 75 per cent of adults reported having an account, up from 42 per cent in 2011. This compares to 34 per cent account penetration in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014, up from 24 per cent in 2011. In developing economies overall, account penetration was 54 per cent in 2014, up from 41 per cent in 2011,” she added.

The survey shows 16 per cent of the adults reported having a financial institution account only, 39 per cent both financial institution account and mobile money account, and 19 per cent had only a mobile money account.

She noted that mobile money accounts in Kenya have reached adults traditionally excluded from the formal financial sector such as the poor and women. For instance, in Kenya 27 per cent of adults receive wages through mobile phones and about two-thirds of those who do so receive it directly into an account.

In Kenya, 58 per cent of those surveyed pay school fees via an account compared to 22 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa overall and in developing economies 15 percent.

About 33 per cent of Kenyan adults pay utility bills and of those who do, 61 per cent make such a payment through mobile phines. The report shows 55 per cent of those who make such a payment do so using mobile phones.

“In Kenya and Tanzania, for example, using a mobile phone is the most common way of sending and receiving money. Among the 53 per cent of adults in Kenya who reported having sent remittances in the past year, 90 per cent did so using mobile phones and 71 per cent through a mobile money account and the rest through over the counter transaction,” Singer added.

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