Morocco expects 50 billion dirhams in mobile payments by 2023

RABAT, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Morocco expects mobile wallet payments to hit 50 billion dirhams ($5.3 billion) a year by 2023 as it prepares to launch a mobile payment service by the end of this month, a central bank official said on Tuesday.

The new service aims to reduce the amount of cash used for payments and promote financial inclusion as more people in Morocco have mobile phones than bank accounts, Asmae Bennani, head of the central bank’s financial payment systems, told a news conference in Rabat.

Morocco has a smart phone penetration rate of 130 percent - meaning it has more mobile subscriptions than people - but only 56 percent of adult Moroccans had a bank account at the end of 2017, according to the central bank data.

The mobile payment service, dubbed m-Wallet, would enable individuals to transfer money, pay bills, goods and services instantly using their mobile phones, she said.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi Editing by Edmund Blair