Blog article
See all stories »

Mobile Money - Subscribers -Thoughts and Experience

Abstract: This article focuses on how & what mobile money subscriber thinks and experience in their life span of mobile money journey. Lot has been said on how to design, what to design, how to price, what all services to give (From service provider mind set). What customer wants, how customer wants, what customer understand and sets depictions in his mind about this whole drama (For lay man it's a drama/movie where he/she is an actor on side) is not visible. All big brothers getting fond of magic or sticky word “PAY” and coming out every day with 2-3 names ending with Pay like “abcPay”, “thisPay” “thatPay” or even adding word “Pay” to there current well established and well known brand names. 

Introduction -financial inclusion is all about accessibility and affordability. In
 case if we start looking this story rather from service provider or financialinclusion driver but from customer or subscriber point of view then ministry of innovation will demand new sub department /ministry with name as “ministry of needs”. Until today almost all (if not all) solutions, which are, coming out in market are designed in anti clock manner means solution gets born and look for problem to absorb in it. Reference in last sentence is in relation with Mobile Financial Services. There is no dull day in Payments business these days. The unglamorous world of clearing and settlement is a recipient of generous attention due to continuous launches of visible overlay propositions, often by non-banks.

Main Story: We believe embedding  core elements in the proposition, 
operating and delivery models will enable players to ‘play to win’ in theseturbulent times. The crux for financial inclusion which is left out to be faded away and if no corrective measure are not taken in time then this will become history and legacy to new age. Play to win needs new diversion like I said some time back start progress on un-develop to innovate. Innovation or new break through cant be achieved if you also looking at same point where rest of the world is. Classic example here can be this; after an individual go through school and university (17 years ) and spend another 10 years in industry and then person in front of him/her makes efforts ( in less then 10 minutes) with help of 2 pager CV to access him/her.  And by asking 4 stupid questions will decide capability to manage  and work. Better is we should learn the difference between being data-informed and data-driven. Anyone can be financially excluded, as a result of the economic downturn we believe many more people then usual are struggling financially.

As per wiki “Financial inclusion or inclusive financing is the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low-income segments of society, in contrast to financial exclusion where those services are not available or affordable.”Which in real world has been left behind. In a typical setup of mobile money model customer wants to make use of their funds, which are present in wallet, and till date no MNO/MFS service provider of mobile money is able to assure this (Agents runs out of liquidity almost every day or today Agent ABC then tomorrow Agent XYZ who is just next door) though too much efforts put on to table already by all service providers to over come these challenges. Agents some time do play tricks or run out of float due to their lack of knowledge or interest in their own business. People / customers that are financially excluded are often not able to access affordable credit ( To the limit of surprise their own agents are also facing the same issue who are so called touch points to solve this problem, this is like a problem where doctor treating disease ABC and die coz of same him self which is not at all good sign), not looking or willing to experience difficulties in obtaining a bank account.

Example a mobile money user go and cash in to Agent ABC in area XYZ which is close to his/her home/office and 2 days later same person now needs cash so go backs to same agent in same area and meet the same individual in shop and ask for funds and gets surprised of his/her life when Agent says sorry I don't have money please find at some other agent.

In this case subscriber with no knowledge on how this thing work; will start building incorrect perceptions and feel unsecured about money and in some cases might cry his/her heart out and only ask one question, “where is my money etc”. If this case is not handled well then game is over.

The success of mobile money heavily depends on accessibility. The agent is the primary access channel for mobile money as the conduct agent centred transaction like registrations, cash in and cash out transactions, Agents trade mobile money for a commission. They also act, as the first contact for subscribers and it is prudent for a mobile money operator to invest in agent education. In above example if agent gets failed to explain and convince the subscriber or customer about what has happen to his/her money and how money can be accessed from that day particular customer is lost. The operator defines agent qualification criterion after considering the requirements of the regulator. The density of agents has to be predefined by the operator to maintain profitability of agents as well as accessibility to subscribers. 

Financial inclusion is defined in many ways or in many words; some time in poor english and some time in excellent english but this is just the ability of an individual, household, or group to access appropriate financial services or products. Without this ability people are often referred to as financially excluded. So Mobile money needs to find the correct home in correct environment. Some questions where asked from real user see their response.


 Hash Tagas : #Mobilemoney_basics , #mobilemoney, #agents

Conclusion : Mobile money mainly was for financial inclusion where service can be given to those who are unbanked and shy away from banking halls. This specific category want to access money with little ease but availability as per their needs matter the most. Second most important factor is the fee charged for transaction as mobile money is transaction based business not deposit based like I have given same example many times in past. Banks make money when money is left and forgotten in account by customer but in mobile money business the service provider makes money when its transacted. Countries like India where people have seen their gran grand father, to grand father to father and self that they go to bank and do all business for free but now if any one ask for small fee for their cash handling people raise their eye brows.


Comments: (0)

Vinod Sharma

Vinod Sharma

CTO - FinTech Domain

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe

Member since

20 Jan 2016



Blog posts




This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Financial Inclusion

The financial services industry has much to contribute to the UN and World Bank goal of full financial inclusion by 2020. This group will focus on industry contributions, ideas, barriers and enablers.

See all

Now hiring