Mobile Money User Base Exceeded 60 Million Last Year
Published on: 25th Feb 2014
There were over 60 million active mobile money accounts globally as of June 2013 according to a report by the GSMA a near doubling of the subscriber base over the previous 12 months.
Services have expanded across a greater number of regions, with 219 services in 84 countries at the end of 2013.
Positive regulatory reforms that are enabling mobile money services are contributing to the growth of the industry in terms of number of deployments. The majority of services remain in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 52 per cent of all live mobile money deployments located in the region. However, mobile money is also expanding outside of the region, with, for example, 19 mobile money launches planned in Latin America.
Mobile Money Services Widen Financial Inclusion
The GSMA report has highlighted that an increasing number of providers are overcoming operational challenges to create solid distribution networks and a large base of active customers. Today, 13 services each have more than 1 million active mobile money accounts and those services that have created solid foundations are moving forward with new products such as bulk payments and merchant payments.
The increased number of mobile money users and access points illustrates the important role of mobile financial services in driving financial inclusion in developing countries.
At the end of 2013, nine markets, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, already had more mobile money accounts than bank accounts. In these markets, the mobile money industry has made financial services accessible to more people than the traditional banking industry. The development of other mobile financial services, including 123 mobile insurance, mobile credit and savings services, 27 of which were launched in 2013, will allow service providers to deepen financial inclusion by offering financial services beyond money transfer and payments.
As mobile money becomes a mainstream product for a growing number of operators, competition is also increasing. At the end of 2013, 52 markets had two or more mobile money services compared to 40 in 2012. In June 2013, transactions involving external companies using mobile money as a platform to receive and make payments drove the growth in mobile money globally, representing 29 per cent of the total value of transactions. These transactions are also growing much faster than airtime top-ups and on-net transfers. In June 2013, 53,000 merchants were accepting payments via mobile money and 16,000 organisations use mobile money as a payment platform for accepting bill payments or making salary payments.
Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA commented: "As the mobile money industry grows, we are seeing how these services are benefiting the lives of millions of citizens in developing countries all around the world. We will continue to track these tremendous developments and work with mobile operators and the broader ecosystem to expand the scope of services available and to extend services to more of the world's population."