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Issue 48
Mar 23 - Mar 29, 2020

Hi there,

How has your week been? I know you must find the imposed lockdown challenging, just like me. I really hope you're safe. We will get through this together!

Episode 5 of the Decode Fintech Podcast is out! We had an interesting conversation with Nkebet Mesele of Visa on how they're using Visa QR to deepen financial inclusion. Make sure to check it out here.

Be safe and stay home if you can afford to.
Simileoluwa Afolabi-Jombo
Product Specialist, Paystack
AfricaTelcos are waiving transaction fees due to COVID-19. MTN recently waived fees for some mobile money transactions in Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda and, Uganda. Airtel waived fees for all their Kenyan mobile money customers and Safaricom also scrapped charges for M-Pesa transactions less than KSH1000 (~$9.51). Mobile Money Africa

It's becoming increasingly apparent that these waivers are affecting customer behavior. An example is M-Pesa, whose users are doing fewer transactions but larger values. Apparently, customers were transferring less than KSH 100 multiple times to avoid transaction charges. For context, before COVID-19, M-Pesa customers were charged zero fees for transactions worth KSH100 ($0.95) and less. However, with the increased band, customers are doing higher value transactions since they won't get charged. This trend indicates that the price elasticity in the payments industry is high. Read more about this here
KenyaKenyans can now pay City Star Matatu bus fares with M-Pesa. Kenya's Safaricom has partnered with Matatu (local bus) operators to allow locals to pay bus fares using M-Pesa to mitigate the spread of coronavirus via cash payments. Techweez

A lot of effort has been put into moving customers towards online payments to reduce the spread of the pandemic. Some stores in Nigeria have also stopped accepting cash payments and only allow customers to pay via POS or bank transfers. Will this pandemic totally propel Africa towards the payments space? What do you think?
GhanaZeepay is the first non-bank Institution to secure a mobile money license in Ghana. The fintech company which primarily focuses on remittance into mobile money wallets plans to expand the product offerings with this license. ModernGhana
TwitterGlobal System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) 2019 Industry Report on Mobile Money. The report highlights that 2019 marked a major milestone for the mobile money industry, with over one billion registered accounts and close to two billion dollars in daily transactions. @GSMAMobileMoney made the announcement on Twitter. Download the full report here.

Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), an organization that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide, released an annual mobile money report which indicates that 2019 was a groundbreaking year for the mobile money industry. More than 50% of the transactions were processed in Sub-Saharan Africa, the region also experienced the most significant growth compared to Europe and Central Asia. It will be interesting to see how much growth will be experienced again this year with the ongoing pandemic. A lot of focus is being placed on digital payments this year to limit the spread of the virus. What are your projections for the industry in 2020? I would love to hear back from you. 
KenyaKenya lowers Value Added Tax (VAT) to cushion COVID-19 effects on the economy President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that VAT will be lowered from 16% to 14% and there will be 100% tax relief for citizens who earn less than $226 every month, to increase their spending income. The Guardian Nigeria
GlobalWestern Union launches a new service called Digital Location. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the limited movement in many countries, some customers are unable to visit a physical location to do transfers. The global remittance company launched the product to help customers transfer money from their homes via a phone or video call with an Agent. The company is piloting with customers in Portugal, Italy, Iman, amongst others. NS Banking
NigeriaAella partners with Hygeia to launch a health insurance product The Nigerian fintech company partnered with Hygeia, an health insurance company, to launch AellaCare. AellaCare aims to bridge the gap in health insurance with affordable coverage, even as low as N2,000 ($5) per month. Subscribers who can't afford to pay once can also take a loan from Aella. BusinessDay

We're seeing an interesting trend where financial institutions are dabbling into the health insurance space. We reported in last week's newsletter that Zenith Bank and GTBank both launched health insurance products. Does anyone have any insight into why financial institutions are playing such an active role in healthcare? Hit reply and let us know!
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Do you have an announcement, event, or job posting you'd like to share, or have you come across an interesting bit of African fintech news recently? Hit reply and let me know! I might be able to include it in next week's newsletter.
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