Mobile Money is an electronic wallet service which is fast, simple, secure and an affordable way of transferring money, offering a convenience and alternative way to banking as well as paying for goods and services.
The platform enables users store, send and receive money using their mobile phones irrespective of distance.
The platforms include MTN Mobile Money run by the biggest telco in the country; MTN Telecommunication. The cash management service available to both smart phone users and those on analogue phones delivering fast, convenient and secure movement of money from one point to another.
MTN Mobile Money service is ISO 27001 certified and has over 10 million active users with over 115,000 active agents and 5000 canvassers as well as over 67,000 merchant points across the country.
Tigo Cash has over 4,650,000 million subscribers with Vodafone cash registering an appreciable number.
Tigo Cash offers basic services such as airtime purchase, peer-to-peer money transfer and cash withdrawals from agents.
MTN Mobile Money and Airtel Money provide additional opportunities such payment of bills, shopping online and offline, payment for food at selected restaurants and a full range of mobile banking services.
Bank of Ghana`s registered number of mobile money accounts increased from 23.9m in 2017 to 32.6m in December 2018 representing an increase of 35.96 percent over a one-year period.
Given Ghana’s population of 29.61m, based on projections from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and the Population Council there are currently over 374,253 more registered mobile money accounts than citizens; a huge increment in the number of subscribers since 2012. Several experts have lauded the surge in mobile money usage, noting that mobile money has deepened financial inclusion and has, for the first time, brought millions who were not banked into the banking and formal financial sector.
The difficulty in securing well paid and productive jobs after school tend to increase the vulnerability of the young. In Ghana, the unemployment rate increased to 6.7 percent in 2018. The unemployed seeking a way out have found vending mobile call cards and dispensing cash at open spaces something worthwhile to do.
According to Samuel Owusu, a 26-year-old graduate from Central University; “In 2015, I resulted to mobile money vending starting with GHc1000 but now I own three outlets of the business making at least Ghc50 – GHc100 a day” while at the end of the month; MTN Mobile Money Service pays him an undisclosed amount. He says he is comfortable; a boss of his own affairs and has also employed two other people.
Another in the business, Richard Asamoah a graduate from the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 2012 could not find a job so started assisting a family member in selling call cards. Mr. Asamoah now runs a wholesale venture where retailers come to buy from him at wholesale prices. “I started the business with Ghc2000 but now have over Ghc50,000,” he submitted urging graduates to start some business and not just seek government work as a means of living well.
According to Gideon Amoako; 35; who started mobile money vending in addition to repairing phones in 2014, found out returns on mobile money transactions were more than funds from the repairs. Eventually he concentrated on the mobile money vending and now boasts of a four bedroom house, car and wife with two children who are comfortable.
He began the business with a capital of Ghc3000, Ghc1000 being electronic cash while Ghc2000 came from his private fund. There’s no regret here for Mr. Amoako who despite not attending a university was living comfortably with his family.
Embracing entrepreneurship is matter of survival now as there’s need to develop alternative job opportunities.
By Tagbor Esther Dunyo/Student Journalist