The mobile financial services community is celebrating the tenth anniversary of mobile money. The first ever mobile financial service was launched in Zambia in 2002. It was launched by Celpay, and powered by Visa-owned Fundamo. The service was the first in a movement that has fundamentally transformed the way unbanked and under-banked people in developing nations use financial services.
Financial services firm Fundamo has conducted research examining the opportunities in mobile money services in Africa, and has reported that it expects to see accelerated growth of such services in the coming years.
Financial services firm Visa has carried out a study of the mobile money deployments in six emerging markets to find out how providers can generate high registration rates as well as high active usage in their target markets. The study found that the key barrier facing mobile money providers is their ability to understand the local vernacular to market their services effectively.
Payment processor Visa has launched a mobile banking product to serve consumers in developing nations. The company said that its Prepaid Mobile offering will provide an open platform for existing mobile money systems.
It’s hard to escape the mobile money land grab at the moment. In the last few weeks I’ve written the word ‘m-wallet’ more than ever before in such a short time. But while the players involved say there’s enough pie to go around, it might not be to everyone’s taste.