KAMPALA, UGANDA —In Uganda, the word survival makes a lot of meaning because many people live on a hand-to-mouth income cycle. So, every working day matters. If you don’t work, you don’t eat!
The same applies to utilities. It is very common to find households paying daily electricity bills or weekly pay-tv subscriptions. So, the cost of transactions in such payments also matters. They are always looking for the cheaper option.
That is a problem EzeeMoney was designed to solve. EzeeMoney is a financial technology solution dealing with both financial and non-financial services providers targeting people at the bottom of the pyramid.
For instance, Miriam Mbambu, a manager at Grey Macy Finance in Bwaise, a Kampala suburb, says that people in her locality scamper for an EzeeMoney terminal at her place of work because of the low transaction costs compared to ordinary Mobile Money.
“People have found EzeeMoney easy and cheap. When their power is off, you see people rushing here to pay for Yaka, water bills, and TV subscriptions, among others,” she says.
According to Flavia Eleanor Kasenge, the Chief operations officer at EzeeMoney, their model lies in recruiting agents who purchase a terminal that is embedded with a bouquet of products that can be used for bills payment, payment collection, mobile money, airtime, and agency banking.
“On the non-financial side, we do tracking services and we track information in real-time. If you hold a case on the Jubilee card, we are the ones empowering it. It’s running on our platform,” she says.
EzeeMoney has been in existence for more than 10 years and Kasenge says this has enabled them to spread wings across many African countries where she says they have been part of bridging the digital transformation knowledge gap.
Regulated by the Bank of Uganda, EzeeMoney holds two licenses; payment service provider and operator.
“We are growing healthily. If you are to compare last year to date, we have grown by 10 percent,” she says.
Kasenge says that one of the challenges they face is during the on-boarding of agents. During the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process, many people lack the requisite information such as a national ID.
“Some people also don’t know where to find their LCs,” she says.
On top of this, there is a high turnover of agents who keep quitting their workplaces.
“Business owners always bring in new people that we have to keep retraining to close the knowledge gap,” she says.
On the part of agents, Mbambu from Bwaise says that the EzeeMoney terminals sometimes face network issues that disrupt business.
“For instance, you make a deposit and it shows you that the transaction has failed yet it hasn’t yet you have given the money back to the customer. This leads to losses; The EzeeMoney team should talk to telecom companies to make sure the network is stabilized because while the services of EzeeMoney are good, the network affects them,” she says.
Nonetheless, Kasenge says that initiatives such as 40 Days 40 FinTechs by HiPipo have created a paradigm shift in people’s minds about the FinTech industry. This is because it creates great awareness of the FinTech space with the different products being profiled.
“We can innovate according to the end user. We can know what our neighbor next door is offering and how we can work together to serve people at the bottom of the pyramid,” she says.
“As innovators, we have something cooking; the EzeeMoney app which will go live soon. It is one of the key products that we are looking to send out in the market for people to be able to get their services right at their doorstep. We shall connect it with the banks for people to withdraw from their accounts through the app or make payments as and when they are comfortable.”
Ezee Money is the 18th participant in Season Four of 40 Days 40 FinTechs Initiative organised by HiPipo to shine a light on emerging Financial Technology stories changing lives.
According to Innocent Kawooya, the HiPipo CEO, this year’s initiative looks at the impact of FinTechs on the lives of end-users across East Africa.
This initiative is run by HiPipo in partnership with the Level One Project, Mojaloop Foundation, INFITX, Cyberplc Academy, Crosslake Technologies, and Ideation Corner with generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.