Dramatic Shift to Cashless Society Leads MTN Rwanda to Tighten MoMo Controls

The never-ending fight against mobile money fraud continues with MTN Rwanda now requiring customers to enter a USSD code to confirm they wish to take cash from their account. Since 23rd September customers have needed to dial *182*7*2# from their registered phone to authorize withdrawals.

The change is motivated by a massive surge in the use of mobile money across Rwanda, partly because of fears that handling cash can cause the spread of coronavirus, and partly as a result of government policies that have eliminated fees for most mobile money transactions. A recent study on person-to-person (P2P) mobile money transfers by financial inclusion activists insight2impact for the Rwandan Utilities Regulatory Authority reported that…

…in the first week of January, the total value of funds sent via a P2P transfer was RWF 7.2 billion (US $7.6 million). In the last week of April, the value sent reached RWF 40 billion (over US $42 million) – an increase of over 450%.

The switch to cashless transactions has been so dramatic that BBC News recorded a short video about its impact on the country’s motorcycle taxis.

MTN is the largest mobile operator in Rwanda, with 60.9 percent of the market per the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority’s statistics for August 2020. The mobile penetration rate in Rwanda is 81.6 percent.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.