Mobile telecommunication networks in Ghana has started the payment of interest earned by mobile money wallet holders.
The first tranche of payment started on Sunday September 11, 2016.
The payment was for first quarter between January and March, and the second tranche for the second quarter spanning April to June this year will be paid September 18, 2016.
Market leader MTN has already sent out text messages to customers informing them of the payments on the set dates as directed by the Industry regulator, Bank of Ghana (BoG).
Tigo Ghana also earlier announced it will make two tranches of quarterly payments on same dates.
This is in line with the new BoG’s Dedicated Electronic Money Issuers (DEMI) Guidelines, which enjoins banks to pay interest on cash flow from the mobile money platforms to the telcos so that the telcos can pay out 80% of that interest to their mobile money customers.
The Central Bank recently approved interest levels of between 1.5 per cent and 7 per cent, but it was up to each telco to negotiate with each partner bank on what percentage of interest they prefer within the given range.
Adom News gathered that some banks are leaning towards the lower limit of the given range, while those who understand the importance of mobile money to the cashless society and financial inclusion drive, are leaning towards the upper limit.
Tigo Ghana said it will pay out over GHS1million in interests to customers.
Meanwhile, Airtel is also paying over a million Ghana cedis, while Vodafone, which entered the mobile money market only recently, is paying out something slightly lower than a million Ghana cedis.
MTN Ghana, which controls about 80% of the mobile money market in the country, is expected to pay a much higher quantum of interest to customers. The amount will be disclosed after payment, as per the regulator’s directives.
It would be recalled that hitherto, the mobile money space was regulated by the Branchless Banking Guidelines, under which the license was issued to banks to partner telcos for the service. It was, therefore, bank-led.
The the new guidelines mean the license now goes to the telcos so it is now telco-led, and each of the telcos has therefore established separate semi-autonomous companies to ran their mobile money services.
This means the over 40,000 mobile money merchants around the country can now offer some retail banking services, where customers could go and make deposits and expect quarterly interest to be paid on their balance.
The cash will still go to the partner banks but this time round, it will be lodged in interest-bearing accounts and the banks will pay agreed interest into a separate dedicated account, where telcos can access with the bank’s approval and payout to customers as and when.