Mobile Financial services to thrive – given correct regulation

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The convergence of mobile communications and financial services will see more than 1.4bn people worldwide benefiting from mobile financial services by 2015, according to new research by Edgar Dunn, a specialist m-banking and payments consultancy firm, in partnership with the GSMA, the global trade association for the mobile industry. By 2015, Edgar Dunn envisages that 1.4bn people could be using mobile wallets – software that enables consumers to manage their money, including making and receiving payments, using their mobile phone – from about 10m at the end of 2007.

The GSMA has been working for the past year to help catalyse this market with two major initiatives – Mobile Money Transfer (MPW 95, 107) focused on international remittances and remote banking/payments and Pay-Buy-Mobile (MPW 95, 101,108,111) focused on transactions at POS. To further accelerate take-up of mobile wallets, the GSMA is working with Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, and Fundamo, a supplier of m-banking and payments solutions, to establish a hosted mobile wallet platform that will enable mobile operators to pilot financial services rapidly and at low cost.

‘Momentum is building behind mobile financial services and we believe 2008 will be a seminal year for this exciting new sector,’ says Rob Conway, CEO and member of the board of the GSMA. ‘With the help of governments, mobile networks have the potential to bring the many social and economic benefits of financial services to hundreds of millions of people who live beyond the reach of the conventional banking network.’

The Edgar Dunn research also found that the number one barrier to successful deployment of mobile wallets was government regulation. The GSMA calls on governments to ensure that regulation governing the deployment and usage of mobile financial services is proportionate to the risks involved. In particular, governments should: