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Mobile Money Services Grow in Demand, Says Finance Survey

The rapid proliferation of mobile money is helping fuel demand for financial services in many developing economies, according to a recently-conducted finance survey. Companies that use global payment technology to give consumers payment options might benefit from gathering more knowledge of this subject.

Survey Methods 

The survey, which was conducted by Visa and its mobile applications subsidiary Fundamo, studied the sentiment of market participants in six developing-market economies. The companies investigated the demand for mobile money displayed by around 2,500 consumers, merchants and mobile money agents in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, India and Indonesia.

Survey Findings 

The research revealed substantial visibility surrounding mobile money services, which permit users to make transactions using cellular devices. Almost 90 percent of respondents to the Visa survey stated that they want to utilize the service at some point in the future. This robust demand could motivate market participants accepting global payments to offer a greater range of mobile money services to potential clients.

The convenience of being able to transmit money to individuals in distant locations and aversion to having cash on-hand are major contributors to the growing adoption of mobile money services.

Sophisticated needs 

These survey participants also desire mobile money services that are more advanced than those offered in most circumstances. The research uncovered various types of intricate and advanced systems for money management in the various developing economies.

The respondents detailed the methods they use to save money for emergencies, healthcare needs and education. The most-frequently reported use of mobile money was sending money to relatives, with 81 percent specifying this activity. Another 56 percent specified that they use the service to pay utility bills, and 26 stated that they use the offering to save funds for their family members.

This robust demand and desire for a greater range of options could motivate market participants accepting global payments to offer more mobile money services to potential clients.

Concerns for Providers 

A major determinant of the usefulness of these mobile financial services is what understanding the provider has of its clients, and how the firm utilizes that information to customize services based on the demands of consumers and mobile money agents. In figuring out how to offer mobile money solutions, providers must consider education, service menus and marketing.

Mobile Money Awareness 

The six countries involved in the study had substantial awareness of mobile money, with an average of 56 percent reporting they knew about the service. Ghana had the highest frequency of awareness, with 93 percent having knowledge of mobile money. Pakistan had the second-highest level of awareness with 89 percent, and 53 percent of people in Bangladesh indicated knowledge of mobile money.

Hannes van Rensburg, who is the chief executive officer of Fundamo and Group Country Manager, sub-Saharan Africa, Visa Inc., noted the proliferation of the service. he said in a statement that "thanks to the mobile money community, millions of previously unbanked people are now able to make basic electronic transactions such as person-to-person and bill payments. Our potential for driving far reaching social and economic change, while at the same time growing transaction volumes in developing countries, is significant. But we'll limit that potential if we don't learn to stop and really listen to our customers." 

The growing market gives merchants with global payment technologies substantial motivation to investigate the mobile money demands of their clients and use this information to tailor their service offerings to reflect these needs.

The rising prominence of mobile money in global finance is exemplified by the recent earnings report of Facebook, which beat analyst expectations amid strong revenue derived from this method of transferring funds, according to Wired. 

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