Sierra Leone mobile money service launches

Sierra Leone mobile money service launches

A text message-based mobile money service has been launch in the West African state of Sierra Leone by vendors Splash and MoreMagic Solutions.

The service, based on MoreMagic's MWallet platform, lets Splash customers in Sierra Leone send money via their handsets even if they do not have bank accounts.

Customers buy "SplashCash" at the firm's agents, including branches of GT Bank, and can then send it via text to any Zain or Africell mobile phone. The recipient then exchanges the SplashCash for cash at agents.

At the moment, agents are cited in Freetown, Bo, and Makeni, with more due to open throughout the country before the end of the year.

Ben Farren, director, Splash, says: "Splash promises to provide access to basic financial services to many Sierra Leoneans for the first time. Unbanked customers can now send money across the Country at the touch of a button."

Rapid adoption in the developing world will fuel a boom in mobile payments over the next three years, with global transaction volumes reaching $250 billion in 2012, according to a recent report from Arthur D Little.

In February the GSMA, which represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a programme that aims to expand the availability of financial services to millions of people in the developing world through mobile phones.

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