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The value of cash transacted through mobile phones rose by Sh283.37 billion in the 12 months ended December 2017 compared to the previous year, fresh data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows.

Mobile payments nearly hit Sh3.64 trillion last year translating to a daily average of Sh9.97 billion, reflecting rising settlements via mobile phones.

Mobile cash transfers in December touched a record Sh332.62 billion, a growth of Sh33.66 billion compared with November as business activities started to pick up after months of heightened political tension.

Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), the telecoms regulator, in a quarterly report late December said mobile payments are now being driven more by mobile commerce than Person-to-Person (P2P) transactions.

Mobile payments (Sh bn) - Kenya

The value of M-commerce transactions between July and September 2017, for example, jumped 60 per cent year-on-year compared with P2P cash transfers that rose 14.7 per cent, the CA report showed without disclosing the actual numbers.

“People only see when I transfer money from one person to another. But you can also see now and going forward, the integration of (mobile) payment services with various sectors, especially financial services sector, is continuing to grow,” Stephen Nduati, who headed the National Payments System at CBK for 10 years until May 2017 and now works as independent mobile money consultant, said in an interview.

The latest driver of M-commerce is the growing demand for instant low-value unsecured mobile loans.

That followed suspension of unsecured personal loans by most commercial banks on the back of September 2016 cap on loan charges.

“All the leading banks, without exception, are actually looking at that (mobile loans),” head of financial services and risk advisory leader for East Africa at consultancy and audit firm EY, Robert Nyamu said recently.

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