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A study by Visa indicates that the availability of Mobile money like M-pesa, Iko-Pesa and Airtel money, etc, generate mobile money offered by Connect Media through USSD Servicess a demand for financial services. The study conducted in six developing countries indicates that consumers are already highly aware of mobile money services – and the ability to make payments or send funds simply by accessing an account on their mobile phone. Nearly 90 percent of consumers surveyed by Visa expressed interest in making use of these services in the future.
The Visa Mobile Money study was conducted among 2,500 consumers and had analyzed the financial services needs and expectations of mobile money the consumers, mobile money agents, and merchants in Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan. The results reveal that consumers’ needs for financial services are far more sophisticated than previously believed and go well beyond the established transaction set offered by mobile money services today. The study also found that awareness of mobile money is sky high, in Pakistan awareness of mobile money lies at 89%, in Ghana, awareness was at 93% with MTN identified as the most known mobile money provider, while in Bangladesh 53% of the consumers are aware of mobile money and identified bKash as the leading brand. Furthermore, the study indicates that consumers have complex, sophisticated financial services needs such as sophisticated behavior to set money aside for education, healthcare, emergencies and life events. With the majority of consumers surveyed intending to use mobile money to send money to family members (81%), pay utility bills (56%) and save money for their family (52%).
The Study also shows ease of use, trust and lack of interoperability are barriers to adoption were a key finding with respondents to the study citing ease of use (64%), lack of trust in mobile money providers and agents (55%), and lack of interoperability with other mobile money services (28%), as primary barriers to adoption of Mobile Money.
The respondents who had to have a phone also indicated that it is essential to ensure mobile money services are easy to use and offer a transparent fee structure is in place and there is a need to build an extensive mobile money agent network. As not having prevalent accessibility to mobile money agents is ranked as a key barrier to the adoption of mobile money. In order to propel adoption to new heights, there is a need for cash and customer service to be readily accessible to meet expectations, as 54% of consumers cited quick and easy access to cash as a key benefit of mobile money. This coupled with security concerns associated with carrying cash and the need to quickly send money to family members living far away are among the key drivers for mobile money adoption.
Hannes van Rensburg, CEO of Fundamo and Group Country Manager, sub-Saharan Africa, Visa Inc. stated that,
“Thanks to the mobile money community, millions of previously unbanked people are now able to make basic electronic transactions such as person-to-person and bill payments. Our potential for driving far reaching social and economic change, while at the same time growing transaction volumes in developing countries, is significant. But we’ll limit that potential if we don’t learn to stop and really listen to our customers,”
The Visa study suggested that how successful mobile financial services are will always be determined by how deeply a mobile money provider understands its customers and tailors the service to the needs of consumers and mobile money agents – from service menus, to marketing and education. The Mobile Money which can be offered on USSD Platforms such as Connect Media offers, will help bank the vast majority of un-banked population in the developing world.
Ten years five months ago to the day, the world’s first mobile financial service in a developing economy was launched by Celpay in Zambia in 2002 powered by Fundamo, a Visa company. This revolutionary service has drastically changed the way financial services reach consumers, such as has been demonstrated by M-pesa offered by Safaricom and Airtel Money offered by Airtel.