Bank of Uganda grants Yo-Uganda Payment System Operator License

Yo-Uganda Limited has been granted a Payment System Operator License by the Bank of Uganda. The license issuance comes after Yo!’s successful fulfillment of the requirements under the Large Funds Transfer System Class of the National Payment Systems Regulations, 2021.

Among the provisions of the National Payment Systems Act, 2020 is a requirement for all payment system operators to apply for and qualify for licensing after having satisfied a meticulous process applied by the Central Bank.

The National Payment Systems Act, 2020

The National Payment Systems Act, 2020 followed the National Payment Systems policy which was approved by the Cabinet of Uganda in December 2017. The policy put in place the framework around which the Payment System Law was enacted. 

The National Payment Systems (“NPS”) Act was passed by Parliament in May 2020, and assented to by the President on 29th July 2020 and is therefore the law governing and regulating payment systems in Uganda. 

Mobile Money was first launched in Uganda in 2009 and has since been the main digital financial services platform. As well as the mobile money service providers, players in the mobile money network include issuers of payment instruments and issuers of electronic money. Although the industry was previously regulated through the Mobile Money Guidelines of 2013, passing of this law was aimed at increasing the safety and efficiency of payments systems operations by providing a legal basis to ensure compliance from all service providers and operators. 

“At Yo!, we see the passing of the NPS Act, 2020 and the grant of our license by Bank of Uganda as a major validation and endorsement of our innovative and then-futuristic Payment Gateway service, Yo! Payments, that we pioneered back in 2010.” says Gerald Begumisa, Managing Director and Founder of Yo!.

“We are very thankful to our customers for trusting our service right from the start. We also consider ourselves fortunate to operate in an environment where the regulator, Bank of Uganda, has taken an approach to establish regulations and guidelines which allow new innovations time to grow and thrive”, he adds.

What this means for Yo!

Being regulated under the auspices of the Bank of Uganda within the prescripts of a license means that every customer transacting via the Yo Payments platform can do so with a new level of TRUST. The license merely validated Yo!’s impeccable track record with regards to the security and reliability of its technical platforms.

The issuing of licenses means that going forward only licensed Payment Operators will be allowed to provide payment and aggregation services, which in turn will boost confidence in the market and allow the mobile money ecosystem to grow to fulfill its real potential.

Yo! looks forward to working with and integrating with the other licensed financial institutions in Uganda to further democratize the financial system in Uganda.

Yo-Uganda Limited (“Yo!”), incorporated in January 2006, is a technology company based in Uganda. Yo! leverages various mobile platforms to deliver payments solutions to financial institutions, large and small businesses and individuals.

Yo! was the first company to launch and profitably operate a multipurpose mobile payments aggregation service in Uganda, Yo! Payments, in 2010, and has continued to be at the forefront of developing financial technology solutions for business. 

Through its Yo! Payments platform, the company provides full support for Mobile Money services including integrations with several banks, utilities and customers wishing to make and accept payments through all mobile networks currently active in Uganda. Apart from mobile money, other mobile platforms leveraged include SMS, USSD and IVR enabling businesses accept payments through Point of Sale devices, Mobile Applications (Apps) and web transactions. 

Fintech in Uganda

Digital financial services present tremendous opportunities for the Ugandan business environment to provide high quality, reliable and affordable financial products and services. This is especially necessary for the large number of unbanked and underbanked people whose access to financial services is impeded by the limited spread of banks across the country.

In a recent announcement, Yo! unveiled plans to reach out to and include 300,000 farmers across Uganda into the digital ecosystem through a $250,000 grant partnership with United States African Development Foundation (USADF) and Mastercard, Inc. 

“Initiatives such as our digital agriculture solution are important in achieving financial inclusion for more Ugandans,” said Lawrence Totimeh, Head of Business and Service Delivery at Yo! “With the regulatory environment instilling more confidence to the consumer, we shall have greater participation and willingness for more people to take advantage of digital financial services and move away from the riskier cash based transactions.”, he adds.

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