How to run an Airtel and MTN mobile money business successfully in Zambia

Learn How to run an Airtel and MTN mobile money business successfully in Zambia

Mobile money is one of the gifts of these big corporations to give us. They are beautiful and the create a sustainable source of income if the person operating it, has the tenacity to make it work. Here are some tips to make it work on top of what you already know.

I am also encouraging your input and comments so that we make this article richer of your wisdom and knowledge so that the person willing to start a mobile money business can read this article and comments to get a full understanding from different perspectives.

Everybody has a phone number and that is now used more like a bank account id. We have the ability to keep our money without bank fees and regulations. Set up is easy and money can be obtained from any booth of which the booths are plenty more than banks ATMs. A booth can even be set up on a bus / even in a club. A booth doesn’t even have to be available for you to get some cash from a mobile money agent. Isn’t this what business is about, bringing maximum value to clients?

Banks are also joining in on making booths, ZANACO Is doing that very well to remain competitive.


mtn mobile money commission in Zambia

For every deposit, you receive you get 0.5% of the cash in before WHT (Withholding tax)

Meaning for every K100 you deposit you get 50 ngwee which comes to 40 ngwees after taxes

For every cash out you make you get 1% of the cash out before WHT

Meaning for every K100 you receive you get K1 which comes to 80 ngwees after taxes

Numbers may look small but this is the most basic unit of transactions. It’s a step in a marathon. I used k100 for illustrative purposes, sometimes you will transact with smaller amounts and sometimes bigger amounts.

If you make 10 transactions for K100 withdraws you get K8 tax free legit money. Gentleman money’s guys, earned from work and not begging or stealing.

Let me show you some deeper analysis to show you that this is good money.

Someone who gets a salary of K6000 per month net gets about K200 per day (K6000 / 30days)

That someone gets about k25 kwacha per hour of work (K200 per day / 8 hours of work)

See if you as a mobile agent take 3mins per transaction in an hour you could make a total of (60 mins / 3 mins = 20 transactions per hour = 20 transactions x K8 = K160 per hour.

That is you working nonstop now let’s say you are not that busy and we only do half the work that is still K80 per hour, 3 times more than someone working in an office.

I am not going to dive into the other mobile monies because I know they are quite similar small gives and takes

Let’s look at some of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Mobile Money


You can withdraw your capital at any time, allowing you to meet speculation or pounce upon a profitable opportunity that requires cash immediately, without borrowing any money. Most companies are not very liquid and have their money trapped in inventory.


It is easily a handoff business, you can employ someone easily to manage the business whilst you sit and relax. You do not have to be present 24 / 7. Allowing you more time for other activities or work. Plus the work is so basic and so it’s easy to train staff.


The business is available to anyone who has the energy to do it. It does not require any specialized knowledge, this business reduces the unemployment rate in Zambia. The capital requirements are only K2000 for airtel. You can be in this business at your next salary.


The commission bands make it easy for someone to run it from anywhere, even in an area where less privileged people live is a good business set up for mobile money.


The disadvantage would be that this is a risky biscuit. You work so hard to accumulate slowly but risk losing all the money you have made by one error in a transaction. If you overpay you may almost never recover that money back.

One mistake is inevitable in this line of business because of the volume. So watch out.


Customers coming to withdraw money will also come to your shop and see what you are selling and will most likely buy if it’s what they want. So mobile money draws traffic to your business. This is an easy way of marketing your other business line too. To he that has, more shall be given to him.


Firstly understand your commissions and then maximize on them, but there are some rules and regulations eg Airtel has that you need to follow in order to avoid deductions.



You need to be the first one opened with mobile money, 06 hrs. already opened and ready to serve the customers. The most traffic is in the morning when people are heading to work and in the evening when people are knocking off from work. If you are in business, why should you open up at 08 hrs? or 09 hrs. ? is that being serious in a volumes business?
I understand some mobile money is not operated by their owners and so their employees wouldn’t care less if the started early or not.

As the owner employ someone who can come in quick and knock off late because that is where the money is.

Also, ensure you are also safe because you are dealing with loads of cash. so too early and too late requires a level of caution


Many people come to work with no money, hoping that a customer makes a deposit so that they can have the cash to start operating with. This brings a problem because your money is made through withdraws, waiting for someone to give you money then you begin to operate is not very clever. You are missing out! In this business every customer you turn back for lack of cash should hurt your feelings.

Moreover, if you do not start with a float you won’t have changed even if someone makes a deposit, you will have to start looking for a change too. So imagine this, you wait for money, you get the money then you start looking for a change. This is what you call DISORGANISATION, if you do this, you deserve to be unsuccessful.

Get afloat of K300 to K500. It should be changed money K50 X 2, K20 X 5, 10 X 5, K5 X 10. Very nice!

So that when a customer comes through, you can serve him or her diligently.

I know some bosses don’t like to leave afloat because of the fear the agent can run away. I hope am talking to the owner here because an employee would not give a damn about this article. Give your staff afloat and if you don’t trust them, then you made a mistake on the hiring process. You need to trust them

The mobile money is nice! but when you make a wrong payout. Things go sour quickly. You cannot afford to make a mistake. The risk of losing money is high compared to the commission you get per transaction. So be careful when doing transactions, be sure to be sure

Ask the customer how much they want to deposit or withdraw AND if it’s a deposit get the money before depositing. Also, ask the customer to verify the number
Ask the customer to verify their name before you withdraw the money

Always remember to be alert all the time and write down every transaction and have the customer sign. This may seem boring but it helps you understand and analyze your business over time. Track down customers you made a mistake with or provide evidence that the transaction was executed. ( This is also a legal requirement as per agent contract with the mobile service provider)


That is the end of the article, do you have any suggestions? Or additions? I welcome those because I know I don’t know everything.

How to become an airtel money agent and dealer in Zambia

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