Absa Bank Uganda has today unveiled the Absa Mobi Tap functionality, which allows Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) to use their smartphones as Point-of-Sale machines to allow customers to make payments using any contactless-enabled ATM card.
The functionality – the first of its kind in Uganda – was unveiled during a launch event held at the National Theatre and will enable small businesses to accept card-based payments from customers using a smartphone.
Speaking at the launch, Michael Segwaya, Absa Bank Uganda’s Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, said, “One of the hindrances to the growth of MSMEs is the fact that a majority are informal and unbanked, which hinders their ability to access credit or attract investors. With this development, we are presenting an option for small businesses to have a clear, digital record of their transactions – which will go a long way towards helping them better manage their finances and demonstrate their viability to potential funders.”
While speaking at the Absa Post Budget Forum recently, Ramadhan Ggoobi – the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, said that one of the reasons behind the low uptake of the UGX 200 billion Small Business Recovery Fund – a partnership between the government and commercial banks to offer affordable credit to MSMEs – was the fact that a majority of MSMEs are informal and lack proper financial records to demonstrate their viability for credit.
In a region where mobile money transactions have registered exponential growth over the years, the Mobi Tap functionality presents an opportunity for the bank to expand access to affordable and convenient financial services and increase the percentage of small businesses that are banked – in line with the Central Bank and government’s financial inclusion strategy.
Sam Kiyaga, Absa Bank Uganda’s Head of Cards, said, “This feature is looking to tap into the widespread availability and use of smart devices in the country. Essentially, we are saying you can open a business account with your smartphone and with Mobi Tap, you can receive card-based payments that go straight to your account by having a customer simply tap their contactless-enabled card on your device’s screen.”
He added: “The application is available in the Google Play Store for download onto any NFC-enabled phone, which allows anyone to become an Absa Mobi Tap merchant straight away. For merchants who do not have NFC-enabled phones, we shall provide an alternative device at an affordable fee – with a view to grow the merchant footprint for the SME sector throughout Uganda.”