Registered mobile money accounts across the three major telcos have – for the first time, outstripped the country’s total population; a development that portends future growth in the mobile money space.
The latest data from the central bank’s Payment System show that the registered number of mobile money accounts increased from 21.36 million in June 2017 to 29.99 million in June 2018. This represents an increase of 40.40 per cent over a one-year period.
Given Ghana’s population of 29.61 million, based on projections from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and the Population Council there are currently 374,253 more registered mobile money accounts than citizens; a huge increment in the number of subscribers since 2012.
In 2012, the number of registered mobile money users stood at a paltry 3.78 million. This shows that between 2012 and the first half of 2018 the number of registered users increased by 693.69 per cent.
Meanwhile, the number of active users stood at a paltry 345,434 in 2012 – which was less than 10 percent of registered users at the time.
The number of mobile money subscribers and the volumes means that there are now more mobile money subscribers than bank accounts in the country. The World Bank estimates that there are about seven million unbanked adults in the country.
Ghana was in a similar situation in 2013 when the number of voice subscriptions or registered SIM cards, which stood at 28.03 million, overtook a population that was pegged at 26.43 million. The latest data on voice subscription from the central bank shows a 2.78 percent increment from 36.43 million in the first half of 2017 to 37.45 million in the first half of 2018.
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.
In May government went a step further to launch mobile money interoperability, which allowed the transfer of money from one network to another without going through a third party or agent. Since the launch, interoperability has seen 287,822 transactions in volume and GH¢25.36million in value.