IFCOur consultancy partner in Canada, Intelecon Research & Consultancy, recently completed a project on mobile money for the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The full report (available at  http://tinyurl.com/87zdeyv ) provides a theoretical framework and methodology that is a powerful tool for assessing any country’s m-money development potential.

The Mobile Money Study provides insight into the type of business model most appropriate in a specific country context, the sort of partnerships needed, the type of regulatory environment required to enable m-money development, and – finally – the developmental paths that m-money might take.

Four countries – Brazil, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, and Thailand – each of which represents a different world region, socioeconomic situation, and financial context – were visited and analyzed in terms of m-money business models. We also studied the two most successful m-money countries – Kenya in the developing world and Japan in the developed world – to compare them with the four countries in our study. The United States was included as a reference point and as an advanced country in terms of electronic payment (e-payment) cards (e.g., debit and credit).

The main objectives were to find ways to accelerate the development of the mobile money ecosystem in each country as well as learn lessons for application in other countries. Based on this analysis, the report offered a framework for a quick market study of a country to determine whether or what type of mobile money services might be developed commercially. It offers models of user perception and demand surveys, then develops a set of parameters—such as regulatory environments, current access to financial services, and the requirements of potential mobile money service providers to run viable businesses—that can spur or block mobile money development. The study included the following aspects:

  • Business model overview (including interviews with CEOs of financial institutions, mobile operators, mobile money service providers, government agencies);
  • Existing major money flows and critical mass low-value high-volume payment transactions (such as pensions, social security, conditional cash transfers);
  • User payment behaviours and technological needs (based on a demand survey in each country);
  • Existing / potential agents requirements (based on an agent survey in each country); and
  • Regulatory environment (including interviews with the Central Bank in each country).

By using these survey techniques and examining the relevant parameters, a government or development agency can assess a country’s potential for a successful mobile money business. The report is intended for regulators, mobile network operators, commercial banks, microfinance institutions, telecommunications equipment and handset manufacturers, and others that could be involved in the development of mobile money businesses.

To download the Summary Report, click here http://tinyurl.com/87zdeyv. Each of the country reports are available here: