The GSMA unveiled its sixth ‘State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money’, offering a current snapshot of the mobile money landscape and highlighting the impact of mobile money on lives, economies and innovation over the past 10 years.
The report provides the only comprehensive picture of mobile money around the globe. This edition looks back across the decade since the pioneering launch of M-Pesa in Kenya, which first demonstrated the potential of mobile technology to transform access to financial services. Today there are more than half a billion registered mobile money accounts across 92 countries.
“Giving underserved people access to digital payments has expanded financial inclusion to hundreds of millions of people in developing countries and has enabled them to be more secure, more empowered and more active contributors to local communities,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA.
“Mobile operators have been at the centre of this success story. The reach and impact of their services provides a clear example of how important the mobile industry is to ensuring achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.”
Mobile Money Drives Economic Growth
Mobile money is a key driver of economic growth in emerging markets, particularly through formalising payments, increasing transparency and boosting GDP. Mobile money providers are at the forefront of payment services in many emerging market economies. In December 2016 alone, the industry processed 1.3 billion transactions, averaging around 30,000 transactions a minute.
The research further shows:
- More than half a billion registered mobile money accounts globally, as of the end of 2016;
- Nearly 174 million accounts that are active (on a 90 day basis);
- There are 35 mobile money services with over 1 million active accounts;
- More than 4.3 million mobile money agent outlets, with 30 countries now having 10 times more active mobile money agents than bank branches; and
- The average cost of sending international remittances using mobile money is less than half the cost of doing so via a global money transfer operator.
A Decade of Reaching Scale
This edition of the annual report charts the story of mobile money over the last decade, from the emergence of mobile money to the rapid advancement of financial inclusion. It looks at lessons learned in areas such as business models, enabling regulation and interoperability, and assesses the impact of mobile money on people’s lives, as well as the broader economic benefits delivered. The report also looks to the future by examining the emerging trends that promise to take mobile money to new heights in its second decade.
With 277 live services in 92 countries, mobile money is now available in 66 per cent of low- and middle-income markets. A stellar decade of achievements that include:
- The extension of affordable and commercially sustainable financial services to hundreds of millions of underserved people;
- The use of mobile money in a growing range of applications, such as school fees, pay-as-you-go solar systems, and international remittances;
- The positive macro-economic impact of mobile money, such as increased productivity and job creation, as well as greater transparency to reduce leakage; and
- Beyond its significant contributions to universal financial access goals, including the World Bank’s initiative to enable a billion transaction accounts by 2020, mobile money is a key enabler of broader economic development and empowerment.
Granryd added, “In just ten years, mobile money has made amazing strides. With two billion people still excluded from financial services, mobile money’s potential for the future is greater still. Over the next decade, the industry needs to work together to place the transformational power of mobile money in the hands of those who need it most.”
Launch of Mobile Money Developer Portal
As the industry looks to new growth opportunities, the emergence of harmonised application programme interfaces (APIs) could unlock a wave of innovation and further extend the reach of mobile money services. To this end, the GSMA today launched a developer portal for platform vendors and the technical community, which will help ensure compatibility with GSMA industry-standard Mobile Money APIs.
This approach can ensure interoperability across the ecosystem, seamless deployment and access to the latest standard APIs, through which developers can build mobile money products and services. The developer portal is free and will allow users to access a real, production-ready test environment. The portal offers an open and accessible way to work technically with the APIs and will be supported by the majority of vendors throughout the mobile money industry, with the aim to accelerate further industry growth.