Payments and Banking – We hear new FinTech startups on almost every day basis which are popping up across the world. As most of them have the technology experience but almost zero experience in banking or payment space, this makes this game more interesting. Because of technology experiance, the new entrants are making sure their products are best of class with artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and data science at the bottom of every solution.
The new technologies along with futuristic techs will make this game gets more interesting though. Technologies like 5G, 6G(still a theoretical point), quantum computing will make sure that there is no paper or even plastic money at all in the near future. Did you remember my post from June-2014, you can find it here Will – Banks ever be successful in Mobile Money or Payments ?.
Finance sector can take advantages of Mobile devices to penetrate all classes of society so the birth of Mobile Money. Here are some pointers from the observations and 1st hand experience as below.
Mobile Money – What and Why
- Mobile Money Services essentially was for unbanked & underprivileged customers.
- Mobile Money suppose to improve life for the Lower segment of society by
- Domestic Remittance from cities to villages
- Availability of Agents to withdraw cash
- Building Savings Culture
- Acceptability of Mobile Money under Mobile Financial Services was the biggest breakthrough
- Mobile money refers to Payment Services operated under financial regulation and performed from or via a mobile device. Instead of paying with cash, cheque, or credit cards, a consumer can use a mobile phone to pay for a wide range of services and digital or hard goods.
- In developing countries, mobile money solutions have been deployed as a means of extending financial services to the community known as the “unbanked” or “underbanked,” which is estimated to be as much as 50% of the world’s adult population.
Mobile Money – Agent Banking (Not from banks though)
Agents – The foundation of any successful mobile money business model
- Role & Importance of Agents of Mobile Money Agent
- Agents play a crucial and very critical for the success of service
- The success of mobile money heavily depends on accessibility
- The agent is the primary access channel for mobile money as the conducting agent centred transaction like registrations, cash in and cash out transactions
- Agents trade mobile money for a commission
- They also act as the first contact for subscribers and it is prudent for a mobile money operator to invest in agent education.
- Who can be an agent
- Agent qualification criterion is defined by the operator after considering the requirements of the regulator
- Individuals and companies can qualify to be agents and they have to meet the required KYC requirements
- The operator’s agent officers are responsible for recruiting and managing relations with the agents.
- The density of agents has to be predefined by the operator to maintain the profitability of agents as well as accessibility to subscribers.
- Who can be an agent, how agent distribution needs to be plotted on city/country map is very critical
Payments Products for Next Billion Consumers
Enjoyed a great panel on #fintech #mobilemoney & products for next billion consumers with industry leaders. In April met excellent leaders from the west and north Africa at NGT Summit in Pretoria – South Africa. Now in 1st week of May met with another set of good people in Nairobi-Kenya at dot finance Africa. Here is the link for my presentation in South Africa. Africa is far ahead from the rest of the world in mobile financial services for many reasons.
Africa is the land/Home of Mobile Money and Mobile is the most frequently used and widely acceptable technological device than any other. Financial services are a key need for most people due to almost negligible banking penetration. It makes sense to enable Mobile devices with a set of financial tools and features as mobile handset penetration is more than 10 to 15 times higher than banking.
How Mobile Money Improve the life of Lower segment of society
- Mobile money is mostly used for domestic remittances. Remittance transactions are usually from cities to villages. They emanate from the need for the working class to take care of the kinsmen in the rural areas. International remittances are also taking a good share of this pie
- Mobile money thrives on the accessibility of services and a wide agent network in both cities and rural areas are required
- Savings clubs have been a recent add on to mobile money services and this has assisted club members to save up in an easy and electronic way outside the banking system
- Acceptability of Mobile Money
- Over the years, the acceptability of mobile money as payment media has improved with most economies embarking on a cashless society drive to reduce dependence on a paper currency
- Most vendors, retailers and transport operators accept mobile payment as an alternative to cash due to its elimination of cash handling expenses and risks
- The introduction of NFC driven payments has revolutionised the market for micropayments
Although Mobile Money had been designed as a peer-to-peer payment system it has gone much beyond the basic idea and as on date it helps Utility bill payments, Airtime topup, micro savings, microloans etc. and this forms Mobile Payments ecosystems. Africa especially the eastern/southern part is the home of Mobile Money. Mobile Payments are most frequently used and widely acceptable technological payment instruments.
As mentioned before mobile money was essentially designed for domestic remittances (for migrants from the village to the city to send money home in a safe and secure way) which is also known as send money to peer or peer to peer send money, cash in and cash out so lots of emotions went into this and this became an emotional money service. Family members back home feel good, smile and relax whenever they see money came in on a mobile device.
Points to Note:
All credits if any remains on the original contributor only. We have covered all basics around mobile money systems and the importance of quality financial services data. In the next upcoming post will talk about implementation, usage and practice experience for markets.
Books + Other readings Referred
- Research through open internet, news portals, white papers and imparted knowledge via live conferences & lectures.
- Lab and hands-on experience of @AILabPage (Self-taught learners group) members.
Feedback & Further Question
Do you have any questions about FinTech, AI, Machine Learning, Data Science or Big Data Analytics? Leave a question in a comment or ask via email. Will try best to answer it.
Conclusion – On sinking Titanic, Somebody said on the upper side, if we are sinking why are we hundreds of feet above water then. That somebody can be the bank in today’s time of FinTech industry. Opportunities are countless; one who seizes them first gets the upper hand. Thanks to regulation and central bank support through the Ministry of Innovation. Get up, spread your wings and grab as much sky (I guess there is no more land left) as you can. These are policies from Ministries of Innovation and MNOs are the best admirer and advantage takers. Sadly for the majority of the banks, this is still an unknown path and some don’t find or consider this as a preferred route.
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