Written by Justin Ahmed
Must Read of the Week:
GSMA’s State of the Industry Report for Mobile Money 2015 provides a detailed look into the mobile financial services (MFS) industry. The report is an industry bellwether, pointing industry leaders and observers alike to the pressing challenges and opportunities posed to MFS providers in expanding and scaling their offerings.
In 2015, the number of registered mobile money accounts grew by 31% to 411 million accounts, 134 million of which are active. One third of newly registered accounts were opened in South Asia, and 63% of Sub-Saharan account openings came from outside the MFS-pioneering East Africa region. International remittances proved the fastest-growing product in the industry with 52% annual growth, highlighted by 29 cross-border mobile money remittance corridors that connect 19 countries as of December 2015. MFS continues to expand its reach to country’s populations with 37 markets have at least 10 times more registered mobile money agents than bank branches.
While there was expansion in volume and scope of MFS in 2015, the report draws attention to key challenges inhibiting the industry’s continued growth:
- Usage patterns remain undiversified, dominated by peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers and airtime top-ups. The value of bill payment / bulk disbursement / merchant payment transactions altogether is the same as last year’s at 24%. While government-to-person (G2P) channels have driven bulk disbursement volumes to new heights, the MFS ecosystems surrounding them continues to `encourage cash-out.
- The proportion of agents classified as active fell in 2015, to 51% of the total. New tactics are being tested to improve activity rates – with demonstrated success in Mali and Chad – including the broadening of product portfolios, strategic utilization of master agents, and provider collaboration.
- Adoption amongst women and rural segments remains disproportionately low, unchanged from 2014 at 47% and 37%, respectively. Tiered KYC requirements is just one of many solutions being tested for effectiveness in supporting adoption by women and disadvantaged groups.
We look forward to GSMA’s analysis of adoption of other mobile financial services – mobile insurance, mobile savings, and mobile cred – to be released (and showcased here on the Beyond Branchless Banking blog) in late spring 2016.
Read the report here: http://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/SOTIR_2014.pdf