Mobile Money for the Developing World

The Asia Foundation – A rapidly increasing number of people across the globe are now staying connected to one another via a mobile phone device – whether it’s an iPhone, Nokia, or Samsung. In fact, the United Nations reported earlier this year that the worldwide figure for cell phone subscriptions had topped five billion at the end of 2010. According to the International Telecommunication Union, approximately 3.8 billion of these mobile subscriptions were from developing countries – with India and China fueling this upsurge.

As this trend continues, the mobile financial services market is also booming, and is increasingly dominated by Asia, driven by mobile, operator-led initiatives in these developing nations to “bank the unbanked.” Developing countries such as Pakistan are among those that have made remarkable progress in global mobile phone adoption; in 2007, while just one million Pakistanis owned bank accounts, 70 million were mobile subscribers. In April 2011, this total subscriber figure stood at 108 million. This rapid mobile subscription rise has the potential for even greater expansion among those living in the developing world with the enablement of these four mobile banking functions: government cash transfers, international remittances, bill payments, and savings.

Read more