Malawi's second largest mobile phone operator Airtel Malawi has partnered with First Merchant Bank (FMB) Malawi to enable digital money transfers.
FMB will offer Airtel mobile money customers access to its network of ATMs, while Airtel will provide the same level of access to its mobile money service for FMB customers.
Customers will be able to transfer money from their mobile wallet to a bank account and vice-versa.
Airtel Malawi has over 15, 000 mobile money agents countrywide while FMB has 66 ATMs in total.
Airtel Malawi Managing Director Charles Kamoto said the operator wants to be at the forefront of the financial inclusion agenda through the provision of mobile-oriented financial services that are safe, secure and convenient for Malawi's both banked and unbanked population.
"So wherever customers are around the country, the FMB ATMs and the Airtel mobile money agents will be there to serve them," Kamoto said.
FMB CEO Fernando Rodrigues said the partnership is in line with the government's recognition that a more inclusive financial system is critical to the development of the country's economy.
"Innovation is at the core of FMB and we intend to continue with this trajectory of being 'firsts' as it creates value for customers," said Rodrigues.
According to the Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM), only 19% of the country's 19 million people are categorised as 'banked'.
In its May 2017 payment systems report, the Reserve Bank of Malawi said mobile network operator-led payment products are growing faster than conventional banking facilities.