MobiPay Now Officially Open in Namibia

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Namibia's first mobile payment solution company, Mobicash Payment Solutions, received its certificate this week in the presence of Deputy Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein, as well as the Assistant Governor of the Bank of Namibia, Mike Mukete.

Bank of Namibia gave Mobicash Payment Solutions authorisation to operate a mobile payment system where clients pay for goods, as well as transfer money, using money that is virtually stored on their cellphones.

Customers first have to re-gister before depositing money with Mobicash Payment Solution. The actual cash is either deposited with the company's bank account or with the company's agents across the country. Customers would then use their cellphone number, as the account number with Mobicash Payment Solution and, together with their secret pin code, they could access the money for numerous transactions - ranging from purchase of airtime, electricity, transfer of money to another person, as well as pay for goods at shops. Amos Shiyuka, director of Mobicash Payment Solutions, says they "have already established a number of offices in Windhoek, Walvis Bay and Oshakati".

Eventually, the company would have "a huge network of agencies and participating shops through retails, service stations and some of the big corporate companies with presence in the region."

Payments for pre-paid airtime and electricity are through simple steps on the phone and the system is compatible to all three mobile networks - MTC, Leo and Telecom's Switch.

People can also transfer money to each other, where in case the recipient of the money is not registered, the nearest Mobicash agency would contact the person to come in and receive the money.

The company Mobicash Payment Solutions received the certificate of authorisation from Bank of Namibia on August 24. Shiyuka says this new solution is ideal for rural areas and those with limited access to banking services.

"The convenience and cost factors are a major advantage. Unlike with conventional banks, we do not charge deposit fees and clients can make use of the entire amount of money they have put in their account," says Shiyuka.

The reserve bank, when granting the certificate of authorisation, described Mobicash Payment Solutions as "a truly innovative solution towards promoting financial inclusion to cover the unbanked and under banked population in Namibia".

Bank of Namibia says half of the Namibian adult population has limited access to basic financial services and predominantly lives in rural areas with very little access to basic financial services such as payment facilities. In addition, there is very little incentive for conventional banks to venture into services for those with little access to banking services.

"The extensive costs of establishing branch networks and other problems related to banking further compounded these problems and obstructs the penetration and reach of conventional banks into remote areas," noted the Bank of Namibia.