Mobile Money needs: East & West, Developing & Developed must meet
I’m on my way back from speaking at the Mobile Financial Services Asia Pacific summit in Manila. The Philippines created mobile money in 2001 and they continue to push financial inclusion forward with initiatives like Banko – which connects a mobile wallet to a real bank account.
Real innovation is happening in most markets. Unfortunately often the development is in a vacuum. The Developed world is completely missing out on financial inclusion efforts of the developing world. And the Developing world is missing out on the differentiating products the developed world is creating for its customers.
Financial inclusion promises to create new bank customers. But developing world banks are neglecting their paying customers to help the poor. Developed world banks are neglecting the poor — and the promise of new customers — but many are providing compelling mobile products. Similarly, mobile payments is nearly non-existent in the west but widely available to the remote poor in Asia and Africa.
In the end, mobile payments in any market won’t get traction unless it fundamentally transforms the shopping (or remittance) experience. For the very poor this means a better user experience that requires far less training and promotes trust of the system — and develops a credit history so they can join the broader financial services market. For the banked this means making shopping easier, offering personalized coupons, encouraging loyalty, providing product information, and more convenient paying.
Every market has both rich and poor, banked and unbanked. We should serve both segments.