While the world’s mature mobile markets continue to wait for ubiquitous mobile banking, the industry is thriving in emerging economies.
“All the pieces are coming into place for mobile banking to transform the way some 1.5 billion people get banking services in emerging markets,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, head of CGAP, a policy and research center seeking to improve financial access for the world’s poor.
In Kenya, 5 million people have signed up in less than two years to use Safaricom’s M-Pesa service, which enables people to send money to each other.
CGAP said M-Pesa is 45 percent cheaper than other transfer services, with 83 percent of users seeing a “large negative impact” on their lives if they did not have the service.
In Turkey, some 2 million transactions — most of them cash withdrawals from ATMs — were made last year using Turkcell’s mobile service.
While the majority of people in mature markets such as North America have both a cellphone and a bank account, revenue agreements between carriers and financial service providers just haven’t been in the cards. Watch for something to possibly emerge at the Mobile World Congress next week.
(Image Credit: Gauravonomics)