Recently we had to complete a service for a client who happens to be abroad but doing business through a representative in Uganda. As providers of digital services, we found it easy to recommend that the payment for the service be made by mobile money alas the representative could not complete the transaction due to his apparent and possibly well founded “mistrust” of mobile money! This awakened my view that as much as there has been adoption of mobile money, there are still many Ugandans that are very skeptical about mobile payments. They need more assurance from the telecom operator that mobile payments are safe and that you can have an audit trail with mobile payments.
Many Ugandans know of MTN Mobile Money, Airtel Money, Warid Pesa among other but may not be ready to embrace these payment in order to perform person to person (P2P) payment, mobile web commerce (m-commerce) and mobile contactless payments at the point of sale (POS) if it was to be availed as of today 2012.
As reported earlier MasterCard Worldwide unveiled the MasterCard Mobile Payments Readiness Index (MPRI), found that while no two nations are the same, consumer readiness is the critical success factor to drive mobile payments adoption. Kenya ranks among the top five countries globally in being ready to adopt mobile payments technology. Kenya comes after Singapore, Canada and United States. 89% of Kenyans were found to be familiar with mobile payments whereas 68% of the Kenyans were making P2P payments frequently.
The fear of our client representative is a sign that more Ugandans may not yet be ready to fully embrace mobile payment and hence the different stakeholders in the mobile payments industry need to do more to assure Uganda that they are safe trading with Mobile Payments.