The GSMA (GSM Association) Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) programme, on Feb 27, released the findings of its second annual Global Mobile Money Adoption Survey. The report analyses the state of the mobile money industry in 2012 and illustrates key findings from the programme’s Mobile Money Deployment Tracker, a database that monitors the number of live and planned mobile money services for the unbanked across the globe. The annual survey was developed to quantify the state of the mobile money industry and to enable mobile money providers to benchmark their performance.
The research shows the number of active mobile money users grew impressively; more than 30 million people undertook 224.2 million transactions totalling US$4.6 billion during the month of June 2012 alone. This exceeds the 196.3 million transactions performed by Paypal customers on average each month during Q3 2012. The study demonstrates that the mobile money industry continues to expand at an unparalleled rate, with 150 live mobile money services for the unbanked, 41 of which were launched in 2012. In addition, the industry is also becoming increasingly competitive, with 40 markets identified as having at least two different mobile money services available.
There is also an increasing number of business success stories in this industry. Mobile money is a two-tier landscape. 14 mobile money services have grown quickly since launch, while others have struggled to get traction. Interestingly, half of these 14 “sprinters” were less than two years old in June 2012. In addition, we identified six mobile money services with more than 1 million active customers and three of them reached this scale between June 2011 and June 2012.
“The social impact of mobile money is already well documented, and our report last year offered the first global benchmarks on how many customers were using mobile money,” said Chris Locke, Managing Director, GSMA Mobile for Development. “Following our second Mobile Money Adoption Survey, we are able to share deeper insights on the number of customers, on how customers are actually using the service and, perhaps more importantly, on how successful operators are positioning and managing mobile money to meet the needs of those customers.”
The report counted 81.8 million registered customers globally and with the total number of deployments on a global basis growing by almost 38%, an increasing number of deployments are also achieving significant scale. The report identified six services with more than 1 million active customer accounts and in the last 12 months, three of these services have crossed the 1 million active customers threshold. The number of active customer accounts is now growing rapidly which is a positive sign indicating that customers are realising the benefits from mobile money services.
Mobile Money Contributing to Financial Inclusion
Data within the report gives an interesting insight into the contribution of mobile money to financial inclusion globally. There are now more mobile money accounts than bank accounts in Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania and Uganda, and more mobile money agent outlets than bank branches in at least 28 countries.
With over 520,000 registered agent outlets, there are now as many mobile money outlets as Western Union points of sale. Further, in some countries, the total value of mobile money transactions is equivalent to a significant proportion of the country’s overall GDP; in June 2012, it was equivalent to more than 60% of GDP in Kenya, more than 30% of GDP in Tanzania, and more than 20% of GDP in Uganda.
Locke added, “As the mobile money industry is maturing, we can expect to see both the social and financial benefits of mobile money increase and will continue to track this fantastic progress.”
Photo Credit: 2nd Annual Global Mobile Money Adoption Survey