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UTL's M-Sente Joins School Fees Platform

Competition in the mobile money business continues to bring better services to mobile phone users as Uganda Telecom's (UTL) M-sente joined the school fees platform. This comes just over a month since Zain launched its Zap school fees portfolio in the market.

The mobile money market since its inception has been a battle for innovative partnership that improves on efficiency and effective service delivery. At the M-sente launch, UTL announced that it had partnered with Dfcu bank in bringing the School Fees platform closer to the people and make it more efficient to make these payments."Students do not have travel with cash. It can be transferred onto an m-sente account and sent to the schools' account in DFCU bank," Alex Waiswa from the M-Sente team told East African Business Week.

With mobile money transfers the question of secure transactions can be read from the lips of some of the customers. At a breakfast for head teachers hosted by Dfcu bank, secure transactions were a key concern. UTL which looks to implement the new school fees platform by the end of august was put to task to explain how secure these transactions will be.

"What if an m-sente agent runs away with the money that has been given to him by the various parents who have made the payment?" One headteacher asked.

According to UTL, before an agent is selected, a particular amount of money is deposited by the agent on a UTL account. This way the agent will not be able to take off with schools money but instead will be working to recover the money already paid to UTL. The technology being used by UTL is a concept designed by MapSwitch a technology solutions company. MapSwitch Uganda Director of Mobile Banking Phil Levin said that m-sente platform has various security checks that effect the transactions. The checks include a pin number and some verification codes.

"The transaction is safe. Once money is paid and the agent sends the virtual money to the school account, it is immediately deposited on the account of the School at Dfcu bank," Phil added.

The partnership with DFCU, schools will need to open accounts with bank so that when the money is paid it directly goes to the schools account. Unlike the Zap system, where the bursar can access the platform and be able to see who has paid, the m-sente system is different as it is the bank that accesses these payments.

"DFCU will have access to records of payment on a daily basis. The bank on receiving the report, will then deposit the money on the different schools' accounts. Daily the schools will receive an e-mail with a report on which student has paid," said Wilbrod Owor the head of Consumer Banking at DFCU bank. With convenience in the minds of parents, school fees payment platforms on mobile money then banks will not want to be left behind as the future technology now is visible in the telecom sector.

Source: East African Business Week

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