5 companies changing mobile money transfer and payment systems in Uganda

Even though you are most likely holding it right now in your hands or in your wallet, don’t be deceived. The future of money isn’t liquid cash. We are racing towards a cashless society instigated by our never-ending thirst for convinience.

The e-commerce boom sleeping the entire African continent is undeniable proof that conviniece always wins. Besides the big players such as MTN Uganda, these 5 companies are betting on that fact to position themselves as the drivers of this new economy.

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Here are 5 companies doing mobile money remittance and electronic payments in Uganda worth knowing.

#1. Yo Uganda

Started as a Mobile value added service company of the yesteryears of SMS, Yo Uganda is re-investing itself as a mobile money payment gateway. Drawing from an interview I had with the companies MD , Gerald Begumisa, it’s clear that Yo  sees mobile payments as the future of mobile value added services.

The company already has a platform that enables businesses to manage their mobile money transactions from a central place. With Bulk payments they provide a platform that enables easy remittances of funds to multiple mobile beneficiaries across all networks. The system further provides security and audit-trail capabilities to keep everything in check. Those of you hunting for MTN Uganda Mobile money APIs, you probably want to visit Yo.

#2. Beyonic

Beyonic moves business beyond cash by working with mobile payment providers across East Africa to offer modern bulk payment tools and expertise to business customers, and helping businesses use mobile as a means of paying employees, vendors and customers. The company has developed what it calls “Funds-To-Phones” which it claims has the capabilities of processing thousands of payments to hundreds of payees across multiple organizations.

Latst year, Beyonic partnered with Mercy Corps’ Agri-Fin Mobile program, to improve mobile payments by connecting 200 mobile money agents and 10,000 mobile money recipients in real time.

#3. Remit (Now Useremit.com)

Bank of Uganda and Uganda Investment Authority estimate that for the last three years, Ugandans living abroad transferred more than $700m (Shs1.7 trillion) annually. That’s a staggering figure. But according to the World Bank, Africa is the most expensive region to send money to.

Now remit.ug has taken on global money transfer services like Moneygram and Western Union with a witty, cheaper and more mobile-oriented means of enabling Ugandans in the diaspora to send money at home.

#4. Payway

When we first came to know about Payway 3 years ago, we knew Payway was going to change the payment industry in Uganda — and it did. The payment service provider first introduced sleek, touchscreen ATM-like payment kiosks that you could conviniently use to buy Airtime. However, overtime, the company has signed in more service providers, from pay TV providers, to utility, data and and lately even entered into electronic ticketing business.

What’s more is that the company introduced less bulky and portable, Point-Of-Sales terminals that agents around town can use to help users pay for services such as UMEME’s prepaid electricity or Yaka.

#5. Jpesa

JPesa is a payment processor that provides a fully integrated system for users to make mobile money payments and transfer money in a very simple and convenient way. The company provides online payment platform where you can easily and quickly set up a payment system for your website and accept mobile money payments across East Africa. In otherwords, it promises a Visa-like online payment system for merchants similar to what you have seen on e-commerce sites like Amazon,  Ebay.

Jpesa competes with the likes of Pesapal, 3G-DirectPay,  JamboPay, Epay, iPay and KopoKopo among other East Africa mobile money payment gateway service providers.

Now as you can tell, most of these providers use mobile money provided by the mobile networks to power their payment systems. The local banks are still sleeping although they are quite comfortable rolling out their own mobile banking and payment systems compared to their counterparts in Nigeria or South Africa. Without the banks activately participating in the next wave of electronic payments, the ecosystem that depends on e-payments like e-commerce site has instead opted for offline payments systems like Cash-on-delivery — because it works.

Image: GSMA