THE amount of money transacted by Kenyans using their mobile phones grew by over 50 per cent to hit Sh1.4 trillion in the financial year ended June 30 2012, Central Bank data shows.
The rapid growth of the mobile phone money transfer service usage from the Sh919 billion mark in 2011 was helped by a 39.51 per cent growth in the number of transactions. The number of transactions increased from 364.06 million in the year to June 30, 2011 to 507.90 million transactions in the year to June 30, 2012.
In the period, the customer base of persons using services such as M-pesa, Airtel Money, Orange Money and Yu Money increased by 10.06 percent from 17.99 million customers to 19.8 million customers.
On the same breath, the number of agents increased by 31.61 per cent from 46,588 to 61,313 in the same period with M-Pesa accounting for 76.42 per cent, Zap 19.0 per cent and Yu 2.8 per cent. These statistics are contained in the CBK 2012 annual report.
The number and value of transactions are expected to go up this year based on the growth of number of mobile phone users. According to the Communication Commission of Kenya, between June and September 2012, the total number of mobile subscriptions was recorded as 30.4 million up from 29.7 million posted in the previous quarter. This represents an increase of 2.5 percent during the period and 15.0 per cent when compared to the same period of the previous year.
"The continued growth in mobile subscriptions indicates that there is still opportunity for growth in the mobile telephony services," says the CCK in a different survey. However, the rate of growth in the subscriber base is flattening as the sector progressively tends towards maturity, CCK notes.
"The use of mobile money transfer service has continued to transform the way of doing business and enhanced financial inclusion, particularly for the unbanked," the communication sector regulator notes. "This growth indicates that the mobile money transfer service has become a key payments and transaction tool, mainly due to its easy use of applications, convenience and low cost value propositions."
For the year ended June 30 2012, CBK says the currency in circulation increased from Sh147.76 billion as at the end of June 2011 to Sh159.49 billion, reflecting an increase of Sh11.73 billion or 7.94 per cent from the previous year's issued currency. In weighted terms, bank notes account for 96.93 per cent, while coins account for 3.07 per cent of currency in circulation.