The great march of the mobile phone towards becoming a banking instrument within the African continent continued with global telecoms operator, Orange, launching a cross country money transfer platform in East Africa.
The mobile phone has been billed as a viable path towards delivering banking services for the largely unbanked African masses. Closer to home MTN and Vodacom have rolled out impressive money transfer platforms in their markets.
Orange announced last week the mobile phone based money transfer platform that incorporates three countries Mali, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. The operator characterized its service as the first in the region and “a quick and easy international money transfer service at a competitive price”.
The Orange statement said every year, 200 million euros are moved between those three countries in the form of money transfers. With the new service, Orange meets the needs of the growing number of Orange Money customers.
“Orange’s goal is to expand this first-of-a-kind service in Africa to other countries in which the Group is present. Available in 13 countries in Africa and the Middle East, Orange Money has more than 7 million customers today”.
Orange Money International Transfer allows money to be sent and received from one’s mobile phone with complete security. Users no longer need to have cash with them when they travel, and sending cash doesn’t have to be done by a third party.
For example, a customer in Cote d’Ivoire can send money directly to friends and family or to suppliers in Mali or Senegal with their Orange Money account. All the sender needs to do is to dial #144# from his or her mobile phone, then enter the Orange telephone number of the recipient and the amount to be sent. The money is immediately available in the recipient’s account to make payments, purchases or transfers, or it can be withdrawn at a nearby location from any Orange Money distributor. If the recipient is not yet an Orange Money customer, he or she can easily open an account free of charge.
“In launching Orange Money International Transfer today, several months of work to simplify life for our customers come to fruition. We are proud to be the first operator to offer customers the ability to make international money transfers between mobile phones in this area of Western Africa,” says Thierry Millet, Director of the strategic NFC and payment program at Orange.