Mobile Ooredoo Qatar announced that its Ooredoo Money Payroll service is experiencing rapid growth. Over 150,000 employees currently use the service, which has been used to pay more than QAR 3 billion (US $817 million) to employees since its launch in 2015. Each month, over QAR 115 million (US $31.3 million) is paid to employees across Qatar, directly into their Ooredoo Money Wallets, via Ooredoo Money Payroll.
Mobile money achieved prominence as a way of providing access to liquidity to unbanked users or those who were underserved by traditional financial institutions. Its core functionality was peer-to-peer payments among individuals. In the last several years, we have seen mobile money expand tremendously beyond its original conception.
For one thing, it has flourished in markets that are more developed than those of sub-Saharan Africa, where it grew fastest. Qatar, a wealthy country, is a good example. Of course, it should be pointed out that in certain Gulf states, mobile money is especially appreciated by foreign workers who remit funds home to family, and this demographic does bear similarities to the underbanked in less developed economies.
Secondly, it has come to be used widely even by those who do have access to banks and other financial services, mainly because it is perceived as convenient and seamless. In some cases, the integration of mobile money with other mobile services from operators has proved an incentive in itself for users to adopt it.
In this case, with Ooredoo Qatar, we are seeing large enterprises adopting mobile money as a means to pay their employees. The operator evidently perceived correctly that this would be a boon to both parties, considering its rapid growth and the sheer volume of payments being made currently. Once users are comfortable with the concept of mobile money, there is apparently no impediment to getting them to accept payroll payments through this means. And for the companies that are issuing the payments, the attendant costs must be low enough in comparison to banks’ systems to make it worthwhile. In Qatar, it is likely that a large percentage of the employees who participate are immigrants or expats who already appreciate the functionalities of Ooredoo’s mobile money platform, Ooredoo Money.
For the operator, mobile money payroll is an excellent, innovative way to expand its reach and increase revenue while shoring up loyalty both from individual users and from large corporations. The size of the corporate partners and the number of payments being issued make this a truly impressive revenue growth opportunity.
On a related note, Ooredoo Qatar is now promoting Ooredoo Money with an offer running through 31 December that gives a free data bundle of 750 MB to any customer who makes an international transfer of QAR 1001.00 (US $272.60) or more. The free data is valid for five days. and above using Ooredoo Money will enjoy 750 MB of free data valid for five days and can also be used in selected countries including India, Bangladesh and the Philippines.