Up until now, Umeme customers would need to travel to the nearest Umeme payment centre to settle their bills. The Umeme bill payment centers are limited in number with only 33 Centers for the whole country which implies that the process for payment of electricity bills has been inconveniencing and time consuming.
Umeme had also partnered with some banks to enable customers pay their bills through the bank branches. However, this process still poses a lot of inconvenience for the customers.
The MTN Umeme Touch Pay product will enable a user to pay up his/ her electricity bill using the mobile money platform on their mobile phone.
“On entering the Mobile Money menu under ‘Pay Bill’, the customer shall then enter the UMEME Touch Pay section from where he/ she shall be required to enter their UMEME account number,’ said MTN on their website.
‘After entering the above Umeme account number, the customer shall then enter the amount they wish to pay, followed by their MM PIN and enter send.’
‘An acknowledgement of receipt of payment shall be sent to the user’s mobile phone upon successful completion of the transaction. Another message shall be sent to the user’s phone from Umeme upon completion of reconciliation of the user’s Umeme account. This shall normally be concluded within not more than 24 hours.’
This development indicates the pace at which mobile money payment is being embraced in Africa. Currently, Ugandans can pay their water bills and school fees using MTN’s mobile money platform. Warid Telecom, in partnership with Uganda Revenue Authority, recently launched a platform that taxpayers can use to pay taxes up to UGX 3,000,000 (US $1200).
Mobile payment platforms have helped to bring financial services closer to Africa’s unbanked population. Mobile money offers the most promising path to making African economies cashless, since there has been a very slow uptake of credit cards on the African continent.