KIGALI, Rwanda – Mobile network operator MTN and Verifone Mobile Money have teamed up to launch MTN Tap&Pay, a service that allows customers to use mobile money to pay for goods and services simply by “tapping” their phones on a merchant point of sale device. The service supports the Rwandan government’s goal of establishing cash-light, interoperable payment systems in Rwanda.

MTN Tap&Pay is powered by near-field communication (NFC) technology developed by Youtap, a global provider of contactless mobile payments and financial services software.

The experiential launch took place at Kigali City Tower (KCT) and saw MTN partner with one of the biggest retail chain stores in the East African region, Nakumatt, to go live with this service.

Speaking at the launch event, MTN acting CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo said, “We are pleased to partner with Verifone Mobile Money to bring this innovative payment solution to Rwandans. MTN Tap&Pay is just another one of our many commitments to ensure that we are living up to our vision of leading the delivery of a bold, new digital world to our customers.”

“We believe that MTN Tap&Pay will bring a strong value proposition for all MTN Mobile Money merchants and customers as well as offer an innovative shopping experience which is fast, secure and easy,” added Norman Munyampundu, General Manager of MTN Business.

“Tap and Pay technology benefits both consumers and merchants,” said Shaun Morgan, GM Sales – Africa with Verifone Mobile Money. “For consumers, it’s a more convenient way to use mobile money. For merchants, it provides access to a whole new world of sales data and market intelligence.”

MTN is hopeful that this new payment solution will contribute to the growth of mobile retail payments in Rwanda, where cash is still predominant. As a country, Rwanda’s goal is to fully achieve a cashless economy with at least 95% of all transactions happening electronically by 2017.

MTN Rwanda now boasts more than 1 million active Mobile Money users making more than 7 million transactions per month, with a monthly transaction value of Rwf 70 billion on its Mobile Money platform.

In the first deployment phase, MTN has targeted 100 merchants who will be using the payment service in their stores. Phase 2 will see an additional 3,600 merchants begin to use MTN Tap&Pay by the end of March 2017.