COVID-19 Pandemic: Digital Financial Services Users saved USD 60 Million in 30 days – HiPipo Report.

Photo by Owaraga Emmanuel - Life Saving capacity of Digital Financial Services (DFS) - HiPipo Report

Kampala, Uganda – 17th April 2020.

From Time Saving to Life Saving capacity of Digital Financial Services (DFS), the latest report by HiPipo estimates that about 110 million people were in the last 30 days, ending 14th April derisked from Coronavirus exposures that would consequently result in to many of them contracting the dreaded COVID-19 disease.

This good news is thanks to the users’ ability to use DFS instead of physical handling and exchange of cash notes, in 15 African countries. Many of these saved lives are women who shop for their families’ daily needs. But that’s not all.

Further, to process 102 million wallet to wallet transfers, users saved close to USD 60 Million over the same period. This HiPipo report randomly sampled digital financial services in Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Swaziland, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Benin, Ghana, DRC Congo, and South Africa.

With the temporary waving of transfer fees, each user most likely saved at least USD 0.3 whenever they processed a transfer. However, cross network/bank services are still costly. With more interoperability implementation, a further $30 Million is likely to be saved each 30 days if transfers keep zero rated and interoperability costs are cut up to about 70 percent. So far, Mobile Money operators like MTN, Safaricom, Airtel and Banks such as Stanbic and Standard Chartered, have zero rated digital banking services in a number of countries.

At least 1.2 billion transactions were processed in 30 days, through 110million active wallets. This means these 15 countries are processing close to 40 million mobile money transactions a day.

Mobile money account-to-account (A2A) interoperability is increasing transfer volumes between providers. Interoperable person to person (P2P) transfer volumes (i.e. off-net transfers) grew by nearly 23 per cent between March 14 and April 14 2020.

Stronger desire for interoperability and integrations with banks and mobile network operators (MNOs), would attract more international financial system players. Mobile money-enabled international remittances have been flourishing within the last 30 days. Remittance services such as Azimo, world remit have seen a tremendous growth in usage, for instance Azimo has registered customer growth of M-Pesa users.

With the Coronavirus pandemic in mind, various FinTechs are working on cross-border payments solutions in collaboration with money transfer giants to enable instant money transfers to the mobile wallets in Africa and Asia.

“Cross-border interoperability, collaboration and integrations such as Mowali with traditional remittance service providers (RSPs) like money transfer operators – MoneyGram and Western Union, and digital RSPs and FinTechs, such as Wirex, CurrencyFair, TransferWise, WeSwap, WorldRemit, Wave, TransferGo, Skrill and Azimo will play a very noble role in scaling remittances and DFS.” .” Innocent Kawooya, the HiPipo CEO noted.

GitHub’s Open Source in the Social Sector report, quoted Miller Abel who stresses that “collaboration can bring down the DFS cost to the consumer to, “essentially zero, so that cost is no longer a barrier for use.” Miller leads the Mojaloop project, which is open source software (OSS) designed to increase interoperability among financial systems and create more global financial inclusivity.

The Covid-19 situation marks a decisive start towards the ‘new normal’ in financial services, a digital one for all, as the number of digital financial transactions, mobile money subscribers and active wallets will keep growing and become part of everyday life for more people around the world as long as all stakeholders play their role.

Lastly, in a bid to Include Everyone, a new digital payments’ lifestyle must be helped with disruptive innovation because of the available opportunities for the incumbents, as the Covid-19 situation is much- anticipated to slowly lead to the death of cash.