2019 marked a major milestone for the mobile money industry in the world with over a billion registered accounts and about $ 2 billion in daily transactions globally.
This is according to the annual GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications) report: State of the Industry report on Mobile Money.
The report showed that there was increased user trust and relevance with 57 percent of mobile money transactions being digital transactions. There are currently 290 live mobile money services in 95 countries with 372 million active user accounts.
For consumers, this has marked a shift from tradition cash transactions with more people leaning towards e-commerce, international remittances, savings, credit and digital payment for services and essential services such as hospital bills and school fees.
“Increased mobile connectivity and innovative services such as mobile money are building stronger and more inclusive communities,” said John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA.
“Surpassing one billion mobile money accounts represents a major milestone for an industry that did not exist just over a decade ago,” he added.
Mobile money agents are now easier to reach than the traditional banks. Globally, about 1.7 billion are still excluded financially; but the stability of the industry signifies a huge potential for full inclusion into the new digital economy.
In 2019, a big number of mobile money providers grew towards financial stability.Direct revenue from mobile money investment was instrumental in supporting investments made in innovative products, network expansion and healthy and sustainable agent commissioners.
The industry is widely distributed, with the availability of mobile money agents triple the number five years ago. It is now seven times easier to find a mobile money agent than it is to find a bank ATM and 20 times more than banking halls.
Digital payments have become popular with 57 percent of the mobile money flows representing digital transactions. Many of the transactions were cash-in, cash-out.
More financial value is circulating within the mobile money system than exiting. This is a first in the industry.
According to the report, there is empowerment in owning a mobile money account. More women get to use financial services, low-income households can access essential utility services and smallholder farmers are getting their payment more quickly and conveniently.
Millions of migrants around the globe are also experiencing the benefits of faster, safer and cheaper international remittances, and more charities are able to disburse money towards their humanitarian efforts more thoughtfully.
“Regulation that enables low-cost services for the financially excluded has been crucial to the success of mobile money, and there is a clear correlation between an enabling regulatory environment and a high mobile money adoption rate. However, certain policy decisions, such as sector-specific taxation and data localisation requirements, are putting pressure on the industry and create a real risk of long-term negative impacts on financial inclusion gains, access to innovative services, and delivery of the SDGs.” said Giusti.