Trends impacting Mobile Money.

Photo by Anes Sabitovic on Unsplash

It has been more than 12 years since Mobile Money was introduced in Kenya, Africa, and continues to grow at an accelerated pace worldwide. 

With the increase of internet access, smartphones and new technologies, it is becoming more and more innovative and more secured. 

Mobile Money has introduced a broad range of financial services that it was out of reach for many people, especially the ones living in rural areas with very minimum traditional banking services. This has stimulated the economy and has driven the supply of additional services. Mobile Money has created a gateway for other applications like healthcare, education, employment, and social protection, reaching many underserved people.

Mobile Money continues to grow. By the end of 2018, it had more than 866 million registered users, an increase of 20% for the year. The amount of transaction per day reached 1.3 Billion USD. There are 272 mobile money deployments in 90 countries. Sixty-two of those mobile money deployments have more than 1 million active accounts, compared to 13 back in 2013. A typical active mobile money user moves $206 per month. (GSMA, 2019)

One big disruptor in the Fintech arena is Blockchain technology. More Fintech companies are implementing blockchain to create more safe and secure financial products and to track the complete cycle of the financial transaction.

According to the 2018 GSMA State of the Industry Report, the additional four trends have shaped this Industry. 

  • An enhanced customer experience – with the proliferation of smartphones in emerging markets, customers are getting access to better user-friendly applications and broader financial services. Interoperability between other operators and service-oriented enterprises has contributed to the faster scaling of use cases. 
  • Diversification of non-financial services – Many fintechs and tech giants, especially in Asia, have entered the payment space, and have developed additional user-friendly services ranging from transportation to food, medical to financial services, like credit and insurance. 
  • Increase complex regulations – As mobile money players increase exponentially, regulation is becoming more and more complex. The main themes affecting regulations are Taxation, Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, cross-border remittances, national financial inclusions, and data protection. 
  • Expansion of the Mobile Money value proposition – Many service providers are introducing ‘payment-as-a-platform’ to increase their value proposition. This model links consumers and businesses to additional third-party services. From enterprise solutions to micro-small-, and medium-sized companies to e-commerce, insurance, credit and savings.

(GSMA, 2019)

According to the World Bank Open Data, it shows that around 1.7 billion people remain unbanked globally, with less than 30% bank penetration, less than 40 ATMs per 100,000 adults, and over 60% live far from banks.  (World Bank, 2019)

All these people transact only in cash, have no safe way to store their Money, and must rely only on informal lenders for credit. 

This presents a great opportunity for financial inclusion, and for service providers to convert that cash into e-money. 

There is still another issue that should be addressed to be able to provide service to the most marginalized people of society. That issue is lack of an official Identification Document or ID. Just in Sub-Saharan Africa, more than 40% of the population lacks an official Identification document. This is a significant barrier of entry for any service. Regulators are demanding strict KYC requirements, and for this, everyone needs to provide a valid and official identification card; otherwise, providers get substantial financial penalties. 

That is the reason a new solution to identify these members of society is needed. Additionally, service providers and government regulators need to work hand-in-hand to be able to improve the regulation to make sure financial and any other essential services can be provided to the most vulnerable people in the World.

Bibliography

GSMA, 2019. 2018 State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money. [Online]
Available at: https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/resources/webinar-2018-state-of-the-industry-report-on-mobile-money/
[Accessed 22 November 2019].

World Bank, 2019. World Bank Open Data. [Online]
Available at: https://data.worldbank.org/
[Accessed 22 11 2019].

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