What are the benefits of mobile financial assistance?

In emerging markets, it is estimated that 2.5 billion people “do not have banking operations” and must use cash or non-official financial services, which are often unsafe, inconvenient and expensive. Traditional banking “showcase” infrastructures are trying to effectively use this model to serve low-income customers, especially in rural areas.

However, more than one billion of these people have a mobile phone, which can serve as the basis for the development of mobile financial assistance, including payments, transfers, insurance, savings and credit. Since 2009, the program has supported mobile money services to provide convenient, safe and affordable financial services to non-banking people, thereby improving financial accessibility. Therefore, we work in close cooperation with mobile money providers, providing the sector with tools and information that can help services to develop them, as well as encouraging the creation of favorable regulatory environments. Promoting digital financial inclusion. The program also assists mobile money operators in ensuring interoperability of mobile money services and contributes to the development of the digital ecosystem by facilitating the integration of external stakeholders into mobile money programs.

We are again pleased to publish our report “mobile assistance and global business” on mobile financial services, which contains the latest information on the effectiveness of the mobile money sector. Mobile money has grown at a breakneck pace in recent years, and mobile operators have played a vital role in this growth. With over 250 services operating in 89 countries, mobile money is changing the way people access financial services, providing new business opportunities for operators. This report is based on the body of knowledge gained through the program and provides key information that will help mobile money professionals, regulators, and other industry partners better understand this activity.

This initiative accelerates the interoperability of mobile money services by identifying and disseminating best practices, recommendations and processes, as well as providing regulatory support in a number of the most advanced markets. However, to achieve real sector development, operators must continue to invest in systems, technologies, and partnerships so that many companies can make greater use of mobile money. The role of mobile financial assistance remains important to facilitate and support collaboration within the sector, either between our members or with banks and other external stakeholders, to create a truly ubiquitous digital financial ecosystem.

Our priority in 2015 will be to help the mobile money sector grow and reach a critical mass, while revealing its socio-economic impact and progress in its contribution to the economy of digital services.

However, despite these significant advances, the mobile money industry today still faces obstacles that must be overcome in order to ensure a wider spread of mobile financial services among non-banking and disadvantaged users.

Regulatory barriers, inadequate investment and the lack of financial assistance at the industry level limit the development of mobile money. As the various sections of this report show, mobile money providers are making significant efforts to improve the quality, coverage and sustainability of their services. Through sector initiatives, such as partnerships with banks or other external stakeholders, providers are improving their customer service and developing their services so that the sector is moving towards a new phase of maturity.

Studies have also emphasized the fact that, although risks can be described in different categories, they are often closely related. Technological, strategic and agent-based management risks can lead to reputational risks, and fraud can lead to even greater financial losses from reputation damage more than from fraud itself. Key strategies were also identified as the most effective in terms of risk management, such as the use of call centers to track, control and forecast cases, the use of reliable coordination and regulation to reduce potential losses, as well as a serious attitude to partnerships and ensuring responsibility of partners for their actions.