How to Start a Mobile Money Business in Uganda
The mobile money wave is considered to be among the fasted growing industries in Uganda today. With its inception ten years ago, the industry has greatly helped the country transition into a cashless economy.
As at end of December 2017, there were about seven mobile money service providers namely; MTN, Airtel, Uganda Telecom, Africell, M-Cash, EzeeMoney and Micropay.
In the following year, a report revealed that telecom’s mobile money transfer services recorded a 44% growth in the value of transactions to UGX 63.1 trillion. Putting aside the mobile money tax saga that almost swept the country’s economy into turmoil, the industry is run on two key factors; entrepreneurship and agency. This offers high demand for mobile money agents, as well as other related employment opportunities. So let’s take a look at how to start a mobile money business in Uganda.
What is Mobile Money?
Mobile Money is a term generally used to refer to payment services operated under financial regulation and performed from or via a mobile device. A consumer can use a mobile to pay for a wide range of services and digital or hard goods.
Who is a Mobile Money Agent?
This is a person or business that is contracted to facilitate transactions for users. They sometimes register new users and also teach users how to best use the service.
Other terms associated with Mobile Money Service.
Aggregator: A person or business that is responsible for recruiting new Mobile Money agents.
Master Agent: A person or business that purchases e-money from a Mobile Network Operator wholesale and then resells it to agents who in turn resell it to users. They manage the cash and e-money liquidity of their agents.
E-Money: Known as Electronic money in full. It is stored value held in the accounts of users, agents and the provider of the Mobile Money service.
Cash In: The process by which a customer credits their account with cash. This is done usually via an Agent who receives the cash and proceeds to credit the customer’s account.
Cash Out: The process by which a customer withdraws cash from their Moblie money account. It is done usually by an Agent who gives the customer cash equivalent to a transfer the customer makes to the Agent’s Mobile money line.
Float: The balance of e-money or physical cash that an agent can immediately access to meet customer demands to purchase or sell e-money.
Liquidity: The ability of an agent to meet customers’ demands to purchase (cash-in) or sell (cash-out) e-money.
Mobile Money Transfer: A movement of value that is made from a mobile money account to another through the use of a mobile phone.
Platform: The hardware and software that enables the provision of a mobile money service.
Requirements To become an Agent
- You must be a registered as a Limited company that has existed for a period not less than one year.
- Must have physical permanent or Semi-Permanent premises from which to operate, Counter Layout.
- Must have three months Company Bank Statement
- Existing Business Turnover of at least UGX 5 Million per Month.
- Registered Board Resolution to start Mobile Money Agency Business.
- Photocopy of Certificate of Incorporation
- Photocopy of Certified Memorandum and Articles of Association
- Photocopy of Valid Identification of all Directors (making at least 50% ) shareholding.
- Letter of Introduction from the Local Council
- Map and Photos of the Agent Premises.
- Letter of Introduction of appointed handlers from the Director’s
- Official email and phone contacts
- Proposed outlets will be inspected by the Telecom’s regional account representatives prior to commencement of business
Money Mobile Agent’s Duties
- Register Mobile Money Customers.
- Deposit cash into registered customers Mobile Money accounts
- Process cash withdrawals for registered Mobile Money customers
- Process cash withdrawals for non-registered Mobile Money customers
- Customer Education
- Compliance with Mobile Money Regulations
- Compliance with Mobile Money business practices
- Sell airtime to the customers
This depends largely on the Service Provider’s terms and conditions. The prices listed there in are approximations and subject to change
- Search Fee – 25,000/=
- Starter Kit – 87,000/=( Includes Phones, Agent Packs, Mobile Money T Shirts,
- Transaction Books, Snapper Frame & Price Poster)
- Minimum Float deposit of UGX 3,000,000
- Minimum float balance of UGX 1,000,000
- Minimum Cash Balance of UGX 1,000,000
What the Service Providers Provide.
- Agent Agreement form
- Exclusivity Agreement form
- Agent application form
- An Account Manager for day to day support
The forms listed above should be filled out at the point of application and can be accessed from the Telecom Offices
How the Mobile Money System Works
Let’s take a look at a day-to-day mobile money transaction;
- A customer registers for the mobile money service with the telecommunications provider who creates the mobile money account associated with that particular registered phone number.
- The customer then proceeds to cash-in onto their mobile money account by using a Mobile Money agent whom they give cash in exchange for e-money on the Mobile Money account.
- This customer can through the execution of some commands send e-money to another mobile money account holder anytime they so wish. The recipient is also at liberty to cash-out at any time they want.
How does one start as a Mobile Money Agent?
You need to have the following basics:
- Sim cards: Airtel and MTN are the biggest networks so far as far as mobile money is concerned and handle at least 90% of the transactions. Having those two lines is a necessity.
- Display Table. You need to have a display table that will not only store the tools of your trade but it can be stocked with other complementary products like mobile phones, accessories like phone jackets, screen protectors among others.
- A dual sim card phone
- A chair
- Transaction books
- Good and strategic Location
How to Kick Off
Hiring a Transaction Line: Here, you hire an already registered Mobile Money transaction line from someone or a company. With this line, you simply start off business without going through any registration hurdles. The things to note about this option include among others:
- Paying a monthly rental fee of at least UGX 50,000/= for the Mobile Money line.
- Income is in the form of a percentage commission earned on each transaction and is paid at the end of the month.
Acquiring a Transaction Line through an Aggregator or Master Agent: These get agency tenders through some bidding process and thereafter become responsible for licensing Mobile Money agents in their territories. For one to be licensed as an agent, you need to:
- Present an Identity Card
- Present a letter of introduction/recommendation from the Local Council
- Have a deposit of UGX 80,000/= (Eighty Thousand Shillings) to purchase the kit
- Fill in an application form
- Have starting Float of UGX 2,000,000/= (Two Million shillings)
Income earned here is in the form of commission on transactions. An additional surcharge of up to 10% (depending on the Master Agent) of your income is deducted for the tax to the Uganda Revenue Authority.
Direct Registration with a Mobile Network Operator (MNO): Here, one is at liberty to register as an agent directly with any Service Provider like MTN or Airtel.
By: Victor Immanuel Oloo
Sources: Daily Monitor, Guru8, Dignited, Techjaja and The Independent