, (KEN MACHARIA) Orange Money has tripled its reach in the last one year to hit 3 million customers in the eight African countries it operates. A series of partnerships with financial institutions has been instrumental in the growth.
The mobile phone-based payment service recently launched in Botswana in partnership with Standard Chartered and in Cameroon in partnership with BICEC. Orange is also exploring the possibility of offering international money transfer services through a tie up with Western Union.
First launched in Côte d’Ivoire in December 2008, Orange Money is also available in Senegal, Madagascar, Mali, Niger and Kenya. It will soon be launched in Mauritius.
Orange mobile money targets Africa and Middle East where less than 10 percent of the population has bank accounts. The service has been expanded over the last year to allow subscribers not only to send and receive money, but also make payments to services and buy goods.
Commenting on the development of Orange Money, Marc Rennard, Orange’s Executive Director for AMEA operations, said the mobile money service is an important part of Orange’s strategy in Africa.
“Mobile payment services have the potential to bring cost-effective and secure access to banking services to people with low incomes, who often live in rural or remote areas.
“By providing our customers with the means to save money, pay bills, run their businesses and receive money from abroad, we are not only reinforcing customer fidelity but we are also able to play an active role in the economic and social development of the country.” said Rennard.
The Group expects success in mobile banking services to accelerate in the coming years in light of the expanding customer base and widespread use of these services on a day-to-day basis.
Meanwhile, in Kenya, Orange has launched the first ever Debit card directly linking bank accounts and the Orange mobile money services through a collaboration with Visa card and Equity bank.
Telkom Kenya’s Chief Executive Officer, Mickael Ghossein said the card will not have restrictions on maximum or minimum deposits to be linked to the customer’s personal account, noting that “the only limit in the transaction will be the amount of money that you have in your account.”
Moreover, the card has a host of in-built security features that help one manage their finances.