In Africa, Orange Money is making your life easier

In Côte d’Ivoire, the French phrase “faire un Orange Money (doing an Orange Money)” to mean a money transfer is now common currency. Launched in 2008, the service has genuinely made life easier in some African countries where bank accounts are only for a minority of inhabitants.

How does Orange Money work?

With Orange Money, individuals or business customers convert their money for storage in an electronic wallet from which they can carry out secure transfers:

  • Senders connect from their mobile by dialing #144#.
  • They input the Orange number of their recipient as well as the amount to be sent.
  • Transfers take place in real time.
  • Beneficiaries withdraw the cash from an Orange sales outlet.

In countries where the number of people with bank accounts is low – less than 24% in sub-Saharan Africa – and banking networks are far from commonplace, Orange already had many prepay users and a wide distribution network. Orange Money was an opportunity to increase customer loyalty as well as to develop a new and distinctive business line.

The portfolio of Orange mobile financial services is currently expanding and is directed at an ever wider audience: the Orange Money offering in Africa, originally intended for people with no access to a bank account, is currently broadening its scope to people with bank accounts and allows transactions between their mobile and their bank account. The international transfer service reserved exclusively for Orange customers is now available to Burkina Faso’s Airtel Money customers, and vice-versa. This agreement between Orange and Airtel allows transfers to be made for the first time to and from countries where Orange does not have a presence.

Thierry Millet, the head of Mobile Financial Services and NFC at Orange

A complete seal of approval by users

Orange Money provides three types of service:

  • Money transfers: sending electronic money to any other Orange Money customer. In some countries, the service offers the possibility of carrying out international transfers. Of the 200 million euros circulating between Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal every year, 30 million euros are exchanged via Orange Money!
  • Payments: settling some bills remotely and easily buying call time minutes.
  • Financial services: saving, insurance and micro-credit solutions, etc. These deals are offered in partnership with banks and insurance companies. Through Allianz, Orange is offering a funding guarantee for studying in Senegal. Micro-credit will be launched from 2015 in Mali, and then rolled out in other countries.

Users themselves have come up with a fourth use: securing their money on the move. They place their cash with Orange Money before their trip and pick it up on arrival at their destination.

In the words of Alban Luherne, the head of Orange Money, “Users are showing that they have fully taken to the service! Orange Money’s sheer footprint makes using it all the easier. In Mali, we have more than 10,000 sales outlets, including 2,000 Orange Money kiosks specifically for this service.”

Growth target

There are currently 13 million Orange Money users. Agreements with the banks are allowing the service to expand further still and for swaps between individuals or between individuals and traders to be more straightforward. Meanwhile, Orange Money is branching into mobile sales, with the launch of a book and buy service for long distance bus tickets. That’s a real revolution as until now the queues were something else!

Alban Luherne, head of Orange Money

Key figures

  • Orange Money is available in 13 countries: Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea, Jordan, Kenya, Mali, Madagascar, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal, and Tunisia.
  • 13 million users in January 2015
  • More than 4.5 billion euros’ worth of transactions in 2014
  • From November to December 2014, the equivalent of 20% of the GDP of Mali passed through Orange Money!