Almost 3 billion people living in the developing world do not have access to any type of financial service. Yet interestingly, 1 billion people throughout Africa, Latin America and Asia own a mobile handset.
Mobile banking is a powerful way to deliver savings services to people across the world who own a mobile phone but do not have access to a bank account.
Many companies have seized this opportunity to bridge the gap, changing the way in which people in developing countries transfer money. As a direct result, mobile money services are now appearing at a very high rate.
The mobile industry group GSMA has revealed that the figure for mobile money systems in operation across the globe now stands at 65, with a further 82 due to be launched.
M-Pesa in Kenya provides a basic service allowing users to perform money transfers. The service attracted 9.4 million Kenyans in just under three years. Building on its success, M-Pesa is now partnering with Kenya’s Equity Bank which will offer subscribers a savings account, called M-Kesho.
These virtual bank accounts will allow customers to earn interest on their money and access credit and insurance products. The strength in savings and investments can make a huge difference. It is hoped that this service will remain popular and may, in time, help to secure a route out of poverty.