In a country where only 9% of the population have access to the banks, it’s always challenging to pay and get paid – especially when you live in a rural area and far away from the cities. There are many reasons why banks couldn’t get more people on board in the last 16 years; one of which is security. In a country where you have to keep armed guards for schools and universities; what would you have to keep for banks to remain open? Moving money is another challenge, what would you do with a bank account that has no money to give you at the time of withdrawal?
M-Paisa – a mobile money provider in Afghanistan is an innovative solution to many of the problems the banks couldn’t solve in the last decade. The mobile money provider does not have branches in the country but rather agents. Those agents help people with many things including; deposit, withdrawal, bill payment, mobile top-up, etc. None of the agents are paid a fixed salary; they have their own businesses to run and besides they act as an M-Paisa agent. In return, they get a commission on every payment they process. This approach has made mobile banking much easier in the country, people have access to a large number of agents for withdrawals and deposits. In addition to that, they can also go to a number of selected banks like Azizi, AUB, Pashtany, etc for withdrawal – that means the beneficiary has multiple options to make a transaction happen.
M-Paisa launched its services with the aim to create a cashless society. Therefore, they encourage people to pay each other through mobile money instead of cash withdrawals. They also have hundreds of merchants that accept M-Paisa payment instead of cash only. Not only that, but they also have an API for developers and e-commerce business owners to use to accept payments online. They are currently integrated with a mobile application for payments called Hesab.af and are in the process of integration with Afghanistan Payments Systems (APS) to enable interbank transactions.
For more on M-Paisa visit their website; https://www.roshan.af/en/personal/m-paisa/