The world’s first bank-grade managed service for mobile money was launched over the last year in an agreement between Visa and the government of Rwanda.

The mobile money platform allows Visa to host and manage all aspects of the mobile money program on behalf of the Bank of Kigali and Urwego Opportunity Bank, through Clickatell’s mobile technology solutions.

Clickatell was selected to provide the unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) facilitation services.
The agreement makes use of mobile technology to benefit those under-served by existing banking infrastructures. Currently, 77% of Rwanda’s population remains unbanked. This service enables the unbanked and under-banked to use any form of mobile phone to access formal banking and financial services.

Johan de Lange, executive VP of Clickatell Enterprise, says: “Clickatell is the router for the aggregation between the customer’s mobile phone and the mobile network operator gateway on the one hand, and Visa and the banks on the other. The USSD technology solution was favoured he said, as it can run on any mobile phone regardless of whether it is a feature phone or smartphone. And it is an inexpensive channel with high coverage.”

Unbanked consumers and customers of the participating banks now have access to a financial account that is linked to their mobile phone and can perform cash-in and -out transactions at agent locations, pay bills, send money to relatives, top-up airtime and buy train tickets.