Research in Brief 87
Digital merchant payments – transactions between traders, or between traders and customers using digital means of payment – can promote tax compliance by providing access to safer, quicker formal payments for consumers, and leaving a digital trail of sales data that can be accessed by tax administration. This study examines how far the potential of digital merchant payments to increase tax compliance is being realised in Rwanda, and whether fees imposed by mobile network operators on digital financial services (DFS) can hinder both DFS adoption and tax compliance. It uses original survey data from 1,100 merchants country-wide, administrative data from the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. Rwanda is an interesting context in which to study digital merchant payments, as these are expected to reach 80 per cent of GDP by 2024. Particularly popular are mobile money payments, performed either through the person-to-business payment option MoMo Pay or through standard personal accounts. The country’s commitment to creating a cashless economy was accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.