The value of cash transacted through mobile phones in the first five months of the year rose Sh186.11 billion compared with a similar period last year, largely driven by higher e-commerce transactions.
Mobile payments hit nearly Sh1.79 trillion in the review period from Sh1.60 trillion a year ago, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) numbers indicate.
This translates to a daily average of nearly Sh11.85 billion in the period, an 11.58 percent growth over 10.62 billion posted in similar period in 2018.
Major sectors of the economy such as financial services, retail and wholesale trade, agriculture and health have integrated mobile platforms such as M-Pesa into their payment systems owing to the convenience and speed.
Unlike during the formative years when the mobile money platforms were largely used for person-to-person (P2P) cash transfers, they are now increasingly being used to initiate and cut business deals such as purchase of goods and services as well as processing of instant short-term loans.
E-commerce deals are largely driven by growth in online shopping as well as increased uptake of instant low-value unsecured mobile loans.
A survey by Consumer Insight Africa, a Nairobi-based research firm, showed on Thursday that mobile money usage among Kenyans was growing but all cash was dominant.
The survey, based on feedback from 3,703 persons through face-to-face interviews in 16 counties, suggested that 14 percent of Kenyans prefer to use mobile money channels, nearly double from seven percent in 2017.
“In commercial transactions, cash-free options in the Kenyan market abound. However, for the majority of Kenyans, cash is still a mighty long way from losing its currency,” Ruth Ruigu, research director at Consumer Insight, said.
“The study confirms that 77 percent of those interviewed say that they primarily use cash. Even so, there is evidence of a slow but steady move towards a cashless economy, and overall Kenyan preference for cash has decreased from the rate of 85 percent in 2017.”