Wave Mobile Money and MTN MoMo Compared in Uganda

Wave Mobile Money and MTN MoMo

Since the inception of mobile money services back in 2009, telecom companies have continually had an impact on African markets particularly from an innovation and financial perspective. In Uganda, MTN has been a leader in this domain with MTN MoMo (Mobile Money) and helped shape the evolution of mobile money from USSD-led mobile money 1.0 to smartphone-led mobile money 2.0 with the introduction of the MTN MoMo app.

But how do the services stack up against fintech-led apps like Wave mobile money? Let’s find out in the Wave mobile money vs MTN MoMo comparison, in which we take a closer look at everything from features and service charges to offline usage and utility payments. Let’s dive in!

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1. Sending Charges

Speaking of sending fees, this is the department Wave mobile money decided to go toe-to-toe with MTN MoMo from the beginning of its operations. Wave mobile money charges a 1% fee when you are sending money from one Wave wallet to another and a maximum flat fee of 12,500UGX for any transaction over 1,250,000UGX.

On the other spectrum, MTN has different tiers of sending costs when you are sending money between MTN MoMo wallet or cross-network.

One thing worth mentioning is that you can send money for free to MTN MoMo registered customers using the MTN MoMo app regardless of any amount.

Here is a breakdown of the sending charges between Wave Mobile money and MTN MoMo in Uganda;

MinMaxMTN MoMo to MTNMTN to other NetworksWave Mobile Money
5002,5003083025
2,5015,00010094050
5,00115,0003501,880100
15,00130,0005002,310300
30,00145,0006002,310450
45,00160,0007502,500600
60,001125,0001,0003,3251,000
125,001250,0001,1004,9752,500
250,001500,0001,2507,1755,000
500,0011,000,0001,25012,65010,000
1,000,0012,000,0001,25022,00012,500
2,000,0014,000,0001,25037,40012,500
1,000,0015,000,0001,25055,00012,500

2. Withdraw Charges

Let’s look at how much each mobile services charge you when you withdraw money from your wallet.

MTN MoMo is a disadvantage in this docket as on top of the withdrawal fees, there is an additional 0.5% OTT tax levied on the customer when they withdraw money from their MTN MoMo wallets. This makes the service relatively expensive and for cost-sensitive customers alternatives like Wave mobile money are safe heavens and much cheaper.

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Withdraws of money from your Wave mobile wallets are free of charge and as of now free of the government tax i.e. the OTT tax like its competition.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the withdrawal charges of Wave mobile money and MTN MoMo;

MinMaxMTN MoMoWave Mobile Money
5002,500330Free
2,5015,000440Free
5,00115,000700Free
15,00130,000880Free
30,00145,0001,210Free
45,00160,0001,500Free
60,001125,0001,925Free
125,001250,0003,575Free
250,001500,0007,000Free
500,0011,000,00012,500Free
1,000,0012,000,00015,000Free
2,000,0014,000,00018,000Free
1,000,0015,000,00020,000Free

3. Deposit Charges

All savings and money institutions operate with the same principles. Allow customers to deposits money on their platform for free and charge on withdraws or service charges. This has been the commandment for generations and is the same with these mobile money platforms.

Both MTN MoMo and Wave mobile money don’t charge the customer for wallet top-up or deposits. However, with MTN MoMo you need to verify to the agents you are depositing on your own mobile number or you will be charged 1000UGX or 2000UGX depending on how much you are depositing.

For Wave mobile money, your account details have to match the person depositing money, or else it will be considered as sending and will be charged a 1% fee on the amount you are transacting.

4. Offline Access

Offline access is still one of the major reasons for the growth and widespread adoption of mobile money technology. Both MTN MoMo and Wave offer the option for customers to withdraw or deposit money and pay utility bills without the use of the internet or offline.

MTN MoMo leverages the use of its USSD option of *165#. The list of services you can do with the USSD includes bill payments, school fees payments, deposits, and withdrawal of funds among others.

Wave mobile money on the other hand uses a QR code on a card for offline access. Customers without a smartphone are registered and given a card with a QR code which they can use to deposit and withdraw money from their Wave accounts. Utility payments aren’t supported with that option at the moment but I believe it’s a matter of time that option is introduced for users with physical cards.

5. Utility Payment

With the boom of the app economy and smartphones, we’re now seeing a push to widen the use cases of mobile money services beyond domestic remittances and utility payments is one of those value propositions mandatory to any mobile money service recently.

Both MTN MoMo and Wave offer utility payments through their services. MTN has the advantage of using both the USSD and the MTN MoMo app. However, the service charges on each transaction make it less desirable and slightly costly compared to Wave mobile money where Utility payments on selected services are currently free. 

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The other upside with MTN MoMo is the myriad of services you can pay using the services. From School fees to Car parking and NSSF. MTN MoMo offers more payment services than Wave.

 Gold PackagePlatinum Package
Data Bundles 75GB150GB
Voice Minutes2000 minutes2000 minutes
SMS Bundles1000 sms1000 sms
Price (UGX)150,000shs250,000shs
Offers30 Days Free Showmax Mobile

30 Days Airtel TV Subscription
30 Days Free Showmax Mobile

30 Days Airtel TV Subscription

6. Agent Networks and Availability

Agent networks have been the backbone of Mobile Money services and extension of financial networks to the average citizen. MTN Group has developed its agent networks for over 2 decades and MTN MoMo banners are available in almost every corner and street countrywide.

Wave mobile money is still a new fish in the water and is establishing its presence by investing in their agent’s network as well. They are in no way close compared to MTN MoMo however, you can’t fail to find an agent to withdraw or deposit your money from at the moment. You can check the availability of a Wave agent near you using the Wave app or simply click this link to check.

The Verdict

Telecom companies are increasingly becoming reluctant to invest and offer services at an affordable cost for customers ever since they hit the jackpot of mobile money services. Instead, service charges are rising.

Disruption is unavoidable in any market and these fintech apps are here to give telcos a run for their customers. Personally, I would choose Wave Mobile Money over MTN MoMo due to cost. Let us know in the comment sections your thoughts and which service you choose and why?

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