Rwanda’s Leading Utility Payment Platform Hits 1 Million Unique Users

The uptake of mobile financial services such as mobile payment and mobile banking services in Rwanda continues to increase, according to the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR).

 In it’s Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Statement of February 2020, the NBR said the increase is supported by emerging mobile technologies such as Fintechs.

In 2019, mobile payment transactions increased  by 26.3% to Rwf2.4 trillion from Rwf1.8 trillion in 2018.

Most of these transactions are dominated by airtime purchase followed by cash-in and cash-out. Merchant and electricity payment hold smaller percentage between 6% and 4%.

Internet Banking has also increased by 77% from Rwf766 million to Rwf1.4 billion. 

One of the major players in the market is E-step, a locally utility payment system. 

The firm told Taarifa on Monday that it’s transactions in 2019 increased. 

E-step is increasingly becoming a household brand and one of the most preferred utility payment platforms. 

In December 2019, Paul Kato, a businessman in Kigali City, traveled out of the country for work and forgotten to renew DSTV subscription for his mother. 

He felt unease. 

He remembered that he had an option of renewing subscription using E-step app, thanks to the multi option payment methods enabled on the app.

He was able to pay using his debit card.

“I have been using E-step since 2016 on both USSD *720# and the mobile app,” Kato says.

E-step has been his main channel for paying his electricity bills, water bills, and also TV subscription.

According to Innocent Kaneza from E-step, the platform clocked one million unique users in March 2020, with more than five thousand transactions on the application which is a few months old.

The platform also has three thousand users on android and iOS. Active mobile transaction users increased in Rwanda from 4.6 million in 2018 to more than 4.7 million in 2019.

“First, people trusted E-step as a product, then when the app came they started embracing it and getting more services (like payTV where we have processed many renewals for Canal + and DSTV),” Kaneza says adding that, “We actively are adding products and services.”

“Another time, in the middle of the night, I run out of electricity and I didn’t have money on my Mobile Money account, but I had money on my debit card. I used E-step to purchase electricity,” Kato says, “I highly recommend other people to use E-step as it is reliable and fast.”

Apart from the USSD *720#, E-step App (, is an intimately mobile companion for your everyday utilities service payments.

It comes packed with more services and features.

The technology, according to Kaneza, is compatible with android and iOS and support payments via mobile money (both Airtel and MTN) and VISA MasterCard.

The App is very secure and user friendly as well. “We do customer protection,” says Kaneza.

“For instance, the fact that authentication is done with a secure 6 digits PIN, etc, users are guaranteed of the safety of their money and privacy,” he says.

Essentially, eStep comes to answer a question that was there.

“People had services to pay for and it was not easy for them to do the payments and follow ups,” Kaneza explains.