Aug 29, 2011

Research and Markets: Will There Ever be Another M-PESA? Discover the Future for M-Banking and Payments in Emerging Markets with the Success of M-PESA in Kenya

Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of the "Will There Ever be Another M-PESA? The Future for M-Banking and Payments in Emerging Markets" report to their offering.

The world has gone mobile, and this applies to emerging economies as well as developing markets. This report focuses mainly on developing markets, but also assesses what is happening in the bid to replace cash in developed economies. 

What were the critical success factors behind the M-PESA phenomenon, and why have they been so hard to replicate?

One of the first, and certainly the most successful, implementations of mobile money in emerging economies was M-PESA in Kenya. What started off as a pilot in April 2007 has to date ballooned into a system that is used by some 14,008,319 customers with a total of 27,988 agents, with mobile wallets being used by the majority of those customers as their current account into which salaries are disbursed and from which they pay bills and buy goods.

The success of the system has led to the realisation that collectively the so called unbanked' or bottom of the pyramid wealth is somewhat larger than previously realised. Banks and other financial institutions have now realised this, and are also putting systems in place to try and attract these customers through their doors, whether they be actual doors to the banks, or using sub-agencies which offer similar facilities to those offered by mobile money agents.

M-PESA began by offering very basic functionality, but now provides most services that banks would offer customers with a current account. At the end of May 2011, Safaricom announced a 56% growth in M-PESA revenue for the year 2011, which accounts for 12.4% of their total revenue.

This report explores the reasons for M-PESA's success, the way in which the functionality has grown, in a demand-led manner, and discusses whether we will see another mobile money phenomenon in emerging markets.

It considers the market opportunities which existed at the time, the way in which the solution was marketed and rolled out, and consider the dominance of Safaricom, the MNO (Mobile Network Operator) which at the time had an 80% majority on airtime in Kenya. It also discusses the role that the Kenyan people have had in adopting the solution and making it their own.

There is no shortage of mobile money implementation in most other developing countries in the world right now. To date we have seen other success stories, but none to rival the success of M-PESA.

The significance of Visa's acquisition of Fundamo and Monetise
On 9 June 2011, Visa announced its acquisition of Fundamo and Monetise. This provides tangible proof that they believe there is money in mobile money, and is an exceedingly significant announcement and strategic move. It brings interoperability among mobile money platforms one step closer. The announcement is also of great interest to those companies in the NFC marketplace and has generally created a frisson of global interest.

The intention is for Fundamo's services to integrate with VisaNet, increasing interoperability and putting an end to closed loop systems. The market for international remittances also opens up significantly. Monetise has expertise in customising mobile applications across a broad range of mobile phones, and so it is easy to see how they fit into the overall Visa strategy.

This announcement reinforces the fact that the eyes of the world are on developing economies, mobile money and the impact it can have. Coupled with the announcement earlier this year, of Michael Joseph's appointment to the World Bank as the first mobile money fellow means that the world is sitting up and listening' to mobile money, the collective wealth of the BoP and the acknowledgement that mobile money changes economies, enables money to flow readily and has the potential to transform lives.
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Source: Business Wire