GSMA report shows active mobile money customers reached 61 million in 2013

Date: Wed, 02/26/2014 - 13:06 Source: GSMA press department

Mobile money services continue to gain scale as 13 services now have more than 1 million active accounts each
GSMA report shows active mobile money customers reached 61 million in 2013

Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA

Image credited to ITU

The GSMA’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) programme released its third annual Mobile Financial Services State of the Industry Report, providing a quantitative assessment of the state of mobile financial services, including mobile money, mobile insurance, mobile credit and savings. The report draws on the results of the annual MMU Global Adoption Survey, as well as on data from the online MMU Deployment Tracker and qualitative insights on the performance of mobile financial services from the MMU Programme’s engagement with the industry over the last year.
“This annual report underscores the enormous impact that mobile money is having in emerging markets, by providing access to increasing numbers of products and services and helping millions of people to manage their daily lives and improve their livelihoods,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “Each year our review reveals greater insights on the wide range of uses of mobile money and on how operators are working collaboratively in developing mobile money services to meet growing customer demand.”

Growing and Expanding Services
The report shows that the number of active mobile money users continues to grow rapidly year-on-year, with more than 61 million accounts active as of June 2013, compared to 37 million in June 2012. Further, the number of registered mobile money accounts nearly tripled from 71 million in June 2011 to 203 million in June 2013. Services have expanded across a greater number of regions, with 219 services in 84 countries at the end of 2013, compared to 179 services in 75 countries at the end of 2012.
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 MMU 2013 Mobile Financial Services State of the Industry 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, compared to just four markets last year. 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.

Ecosystem Development
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.
Phillips added, “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.”

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