As Users Game the System, Telcos/Banks Rue ‘Mobile Money Freebie’ in Kenya
By Nzekwe Henry
The date was March 16, 2020, and cases of the novel coronavirus had just begun to spike in Kenya. Following recommendations from the government urging less use of cash as a precaution against the virus, Kenyan banks and mobile money platforms had been forced to become generous, sort of.
These institutions had been “gently urged” to forgo the usual fees on specific mobile money services for 90 days so as to encourage their increased use amid the pandemic. And the companies obliged.
Among other things, it felt like great PR. But that was up until it didn’t, which is how it feels now that Kenyans are gaming the system, as they will likely keep doing for another 6 months. And service providers are counting the cost of the freebie, which was initially billed to last for 3 months but has since been extended to December 2020.
Photo courtesy of Fiona Graham.