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Mobile Money Continues to Improve Access to Banking Around the Globe

  • By Timothy Roberts
  • Monday, December 16, 2013

Over the last few weeks, I’ve read a number of articles that detail the successes of mobile money around the world when it comes to empowering some of the poorest people in the world.

This article in the New York Times details how mobile money is gaining traction in India with the MoneyOnMobile service. Mobile money has been slower to take hold in India, but the Central Bank reports that “wireless money transfers has more than doubled since September 2012, moving the annualized equivalent of $3.2 billion.” This is great news for providers in this market as it still is a relatively untapped market with huge growth potential.

LatinaLista shares how smartphones are delivering financial aid in Guatemala with with a discussion of how smartphones were instrumental to delivering aid after the earthquake in November 2012.

Following the earthquake, Oxfam teamed with service provider Tigo to deliver “financial aid via text messages to families who had lost their home.” The article does a great job of outlining how monetary aid is increasingly being used by aid organizations including Oxfam as they can reach isolated people. In Guatemala, Oxfam has used this method extensively over the last year to deliver aid to address drought, food shortages and child malnutrition, distributing “over $282, 000 to more than 1,700 families.”

And finally, mobile money is being used currently in the Philippines to provide mobile cash transfers to those most impacted by Typhoon Haiyan. An article on Developing Telecoms details how aid agency Mercy Corps is using mobile money to provide cash to ensure “families can purchase exactly what they need to get back on their feet.”

These stories are the heart of mobile money as they are delivering to those who need it the most. Even if mobile money fails to mainstream in the first world, being able to provide aid and services to the unbanked should be viewed as a win for the industry.