Millicom Offers Tanzanian Users Returns on Mobile Wallet Cash

Tim Maytom

tigo pesa 1International telecommunications and media company Millicom has launched a mobile money service using its Tigo operation in Tanzania that offers users the opportunity to automatically earn a return on their balance.

The service, called Tigo Wekeza ("Tigo Invests") and will enable the 3.5m Tigo Pesa users in Tanzania to benefit from quarterly payments based on their balance, without the need for a separate registration. Users will also have the option to nominate a non-profit beneficiary for any returns earned, in line with their personal beliefs.

"This innovation reflects our commitment to develop mobile money into an even more attractive service and will extend financial inclusion further," said Hans-Holger Albrecht, CEO and president of Millicom. "It comes in a year when we have already pioneered cross-border mobile money transfers with automatic currency conversion as well as a unique interoperability arrangement with other operators in Africa."

Earlier this month, a one-time return to Tigo Pesa user based on their accrued balances was announced, with the trustees of the funds able to achieve an aggregate return of 9.2 per cent for the beneficiaries. The scheme has been authorised by the Bank of Tanzania, and the company hopes to maintain a high return for those who use the system.

Mobile payment services have been very popular in Africa and other emerging markets, where many consumers and merchants struggle to access regular banking services normally, and mobile adoption has vastly outpaced use of desktop computers.

"This new service is a further example of the many pioneering ways in which the industry supports inclusive financial and social policy goals," said Tom Phillips, chief regulatory officer of the GSMA. "I look forward to seeing other operators offering similar services."