I had the pleasure of being the tour guide for Joey Bania, a videographer from Berlin who recently visited KE for some work. Upon completing that, he had a few extra hours and wanted to explore the capital, Nairobi, before flying back to Germany on his scheduled evening flight.
Of course, many things were said and memories were made but for this article, I choose to highlight one moment that might have caught us all off guard.
Kenya has been on the forefront among nations in Africa when it comes to the adoption of cashless currency systems. If anything, the cashless system has indeed proven to be convenient, efficient and most importantly secure.
So there I was, riding shotgun on Mombasa Road. Figuring it was a good idea to purchase some fruit while we were caught up in traffic, I beckoned a lady vendor and made the transaction. As soon as she read me her phone number, traffic loosened up and we dashed.
In between biting his apple, our German companion couldn’t help but point out that no one gave cash to the fruit vendor. That was awkward. It was hilarious to us that the concept of mobile money was rather new to Joey.
So apparently, in Germany mobile money is only accessible through ones bank account. Unlike here in Kenya where you don’t necessarily need a bank account to access some funds through your phone.
In most cases, the cashless currency system in KE is facilitated by mobile money platforms such as M-Pesa, Airtel Money, T-Kash and many more.
These innovations completely revolutionized the way Kenyans transacted. They have enabled us to pay bills and make purchases just by a double-tap. That’s quite convinient. I couldn’t tell you the last time I asked for my change in a Ma-3. Hope someone out there can relate.
The Price for the Future.
I can’t deny we’re living in the future, but certain limitations come with this way of life. Some of these shortcomings include:
1. Your Privacy: Everyone’s alittle concerned about privacy especially when it comes to money. These cashless systems require personal information. The fear of your transactions being tracked or recorded might not be such an agreeable term.
2. Total Tech Dependence: Digital cash systems rely on software and hardware tech. Anything goes wrong like a system failure or an apocalypse means than I can’t access my money.
3. Discrimination: Not every Kenyan can access the technology required to use these systems. This prevents anyone without digital access from participating in these transactions thus restricting the cash flow.
I say as much as these systems have shortcomings, the pros seem to outweigh the cons on this one. Plus, technology only gets better from here.