MTN opens Mobile Money API as it unveils Shs1bn fund for innovators.
- The Mobile Money Open API will now be accessed by third parties.
- The expectation is to enable innovation around payment systems.
- MTN has also launched a Startup Fund valued at Shs1bn and unveiled the MTN Open API App Challenge
Wednesday, 19th November 2018
Kampala – MTN Uganda has today become the first telecom company in Uganda and in the MTN Group to grant access to third-party access to its Mobile Money Access Programming Interface (API). An Open API platform enables developers and programmers to get free access to MTN mobile money proprietary software platform. MTN Mobile Money is the most widely used mobile money platform in Uganda. Developers can now access it, create products that ease payment options and leverage the 10M of MTN clients registered on Mobile Money.
“This is an exciting development for the Ugandan start-ups ecosystem. Innovators will now be able to develop applications that ease the customer experience in terms of mobile money payments. We do hope that this move will spur innovation in the developer community around the country because this is the first time this is being done here,” said Elsa Muzzolini, the General Manager, Mobile Financial Services MTN Uganda.
In January 2018, MTN Uganda and Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) entered a partnership intended to drive customer growth and activity by facilitating a wider range of mobile wallet applications for all customers through open APIs. According to CGAP, open APIs have the potential to further drive financial inclusion, which is already being accelerated by the usage of mobile money.
“Our expectations are that this decision will enable innovators to monetise their products, ensure that there is fast turnaround of innovations to get to market and improve the value created for innovators and entrepreneurs, why not a Ugandan Ebay or Amazon in the next few months” Muzzolini added.
The MTN Mobile Money API will be accessed by developers online through http://momodeveloper.mtn.com/. This takes away the process previously where developers had to submit paperwork physically to MTN Uganda and to proceed to a lengthy standard integration. The online system provides an option where before developer’s product goes live, they can test it using a sandbox available at no cost on the website.
MTN also announced the launch of a Shs1bn Startup Fund that will be accessed by local technology start-ups in Uganda. The fund is expected to provide a financial boost to startups that participate in the MTN innovation challenge series.
The first of these is the MTN Open API Challenge starts on 3 December 2018. Participants will make their entries on the innovation challenge website.
“It has been 20 years since we started operating in Uganda and our role in this economy has been evolving. Today, opening the Mobile Money API further emphasises our ambition of being a digital company. Ugandan developers now have the opportunity to build products that will enhance financial inclusion, improved customer experience when making payments and improve the movement of virtual money,” said Wim Vanhelleputte, the MTN Uganda CEO.
Adding, “The Shs1bn commitment we have made towards the MTN Startup Fund also forms part of that ambition to continue supporting local innovators. I encourage as many startups as possible to participate in the several innovation challenges we shall be hosting in order to access funding from the MTN Startup Fund.”
At the same function, the MTN Uganda CEO unveiled a Ugx 310 million high speed internet connectivity package to the Innovation Village, courtesy of the MTN Foundation. The package includes free internet connectivity for use by young developers and innovators as part of its youth empowerment drive.
There has been a tremendous success in countries like Kenya where some telecom companies have opened up their Mobile Money APIs. MTN Uganda in partnership with several technology and innovation hubs around the country is facilitating the training of developers on how to use the platform. Free training program is available for registration on MTN website.
About MTN Open API
- What is the MTN Open API about?
The MTN Open API is an initiative in which MTN has exposed to the public API end points for accessing MTN Mobile Money services. To access the exposed API endpoints, users simply sign up on the online portal at https://momodeveloper.mtn.com
- How does the MTN Open API benefit Innovators and Entrepreneurs?
The Open API will ease the process of integrating to MTN Mobile Money and also enhance value for innovators who want to use Mobile Money as a payment solution in their products and services. How is this achieved?
- a)Monetization of innovation; Exposing the API end points for Mobile Money to the public will make it easy for any innovator to consider monetizing their service collecting with MTN Mobile Money
- b)Empowerment and convenience; Users don’t have to visit MTN offices to initiate integration with Mobile Money. They can initiate and complete integration via the MTN Open API online portal
- c)More innovations; The Open API provides a sandbox environment for innovators to experiment concepts thus stimulating innovation. Access to API enables developers to innovate on transaction flow vs what a standard integration would provide
- d)Quicker access to Market; Once development of the service is completed and testing is done; integration to go live via the Open API takes approximately 10 days as opposed to over 3-4 monthspreviously experienced.
- What is the MTN Open API Product offering?
The exposed API endpoints have been packaged to enable the partner/developer to build any or all the following products.
- Collections – For receiving payments for Good and Services
- Disbursements – Enabling a partner to make payments/disbursements to a list of specified recipients.
- Remittances: This enables the customer/partner to transfer and receive money across borders.
- Collection Widget: A user can download the widget and enable mobile Money payments off an E-commerce site
- What are the available APIs?
Endpoints for the following APIs have been exposed:
|1||Debit same as Requesttopay||Used to collect Mobile Money as payment for goods and services.|
*A shoe seller offering purchase of shoes by Mobile Money
*A website collecting subscriptions using Mobile Money
|2||DebitCompleted||Because the Debit has user interaction, this API will allow a merchant be aware of the payment by imitating a notification to the Merchant when a user pays e.g. the shoe seller will get notified when a PIN is entered by the user|
|3||Sptranfser||Used by a Merchant to pay out, e.g. a betting company paying from their pocket into a subscribers wallet|
|4||Gettransactionstatus||Used to get the transaction status of a transaction, if the same shoe seller doesn’t get feedback they can query transaction status|
|5||GetBalance||Used to query own balance, the shoe seller wants to know how much they have collected|
|6||ValidateAccountHolder||Used to confirm before a transaction that the user is a Mobile Money user, In case they are not, a false will be returned to the merchant|
|7||Preapproval||In cases where merchants / companies collect money automatically, this will request the user to enter a pin and the merchant can then collect money without the user entering a PIN, e.g. the Shoe seller sells the shoes in 5 installments, after the first installment the rest are auto deducted|
|8||PreapprovalCompleted||Same as Debitcompleted, Merchant is notified if the user has agreed to the terms of automatically collecting funds.|
- Are the APIs accessed only within Uganda?
The MTN Open API portal and endpoints are open to both local and international innovators to use as long as they comply with the terms and conditions of using the API which include among others compliance to regulatory requirements and policies including but not limited to ‘Know Your Customer (KYC), AML Act among others.
- If I develop a product on the MTN Open API, will my services be accessed in other countries where MTN is operating?
The Open API enables you to develop and commercialize services that are consumable within a specific market/country. Currently the Open API is only available in Uganda. In the future, we intend to extend the scope of the Open API to other MTN operations.
- Can the Open API endpoints be used for services accessed via USSD?
Yes. Services created can be accessed via Web, App and USSD channels.
- How do I get to access and use the MTN Open API?