Developing markets, where consumers may have limited access to basic financial services, have become test beds for mobile money schemes, providing the underbanked the secure, reliable means to pay bills, transfer funds and store money.
According to a post on Nigeria’s Business Daily, Nigeria, which has been pushing mobile payments as a substitute for cash payments, the future for mobile money is bright. According to the post, Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s minister of communications technology, said the expected value of mobile money transactions will increase to N151 billion ($936 million) by 2015. That’s a massive increase over the N228 million ($1.4 million) in mobile money transactions currently.
Additionally, the number of registered mobile money agents will go from 3,000 to 50,000 by 2015. Mobile money agents are the independent businesses registered by the networks to withdraw and deposit money for consumers.
Even with that growth, the post said, a survey of the mobile money economy in Nigeria showed signs of issues with consumer education. The survey said only 4.8 million Nigerian adults were aware of mobile money schemes and only 400,000 were registered with mobile money agents.
The Central Bank of Nigeria has been pushing mobile money schemes for some time, with 16 mobile money operators currently licensed in the country. The CBN has directed the MMOs to be fully connected to the country’s National Central Switch by Feb. 28, 2013, making the systems interoperable and increasing the utility and reach of mobile money.