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Does mobile banking fix it for the world's unbanked?

South Africa's Mail & Guardian has a news report looking at the use of Cell Phone banking to bring low income groups into the banked population, and thereby increase their potential for economic participation. The story looks at research among customers of South Africa's Wizzit Bank and a sample of the unbanked.

There's also a related research report from the participants in the research activity (CGAP, UN Foundation and Vodafone), and the subject gets general discussion in this Vodafone Foundation document. The UN has also covered the importance increasing participation in the financial system, in order to deliver against the Millennium Development Goals, here's one example of their output.

Which made we wonder what other examples are there of mobile banking being deployed to reach low income groups in developing countries?

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Comments: (2)

Matt White
Matt White - Finextra - Toronto 22 March, 2007, 09:08Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

There is a story in the Guardian about a money transfer system that has just been launched in Kenya. It was developed by Vodafone and allows people to send money to each other via SMS. 

This is a country where 80% of the population don't have access to the financial sector but eight million have mobile phones so the service, called M-Pesa, may prove very popular.

Finextra also highlighted the potential for the system to be used by Kenyans living abroad to send money home.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 03 April, 2007, 14:46Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I have been working in the provision of mobile banking solutions in developing economies since 2000. Our oldest deployment have been in production since 2002 in one of the poorest countries in the world: Zambia. We have successfully deployed solutions in countries like Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of the Congo (this country is almost the size of the whole of Europe) and South Africa. Mobile banking is real with millions of transactions and huge volumes being transacted every day.