Mobile money services, contextually designed biz models for the BoP

Dave Tait shared this press release today from FNB South Africa who have just announced a very sensitively designed system for remittance across urban and rural South Africa. On the other hand is the World Money announcement by Vodafone, who are desperately trying to position their "World Money bank account required" mobile money transfer system as something to benefit billions, well maybe, but billions in dollars not people at the base of the pyramid. Here's a snippet, then lets discuss,

“Honestly, it may not be a big business for us in terms
of margins because of the small transaction fee. But it will be an
incredibly powerful tool for economic development, reducing social
divide because it helps the underbanked and non-banked people around
the world, as we have seen in Kenya,” Colao said.

Starting with that very first word, something isn't quite right if the above is supported by the below description,

It is not mandatory that the sender and recipient have standard bank accounts.
a potential beneficiary has to have a World Money Account with a local
bank, which will be independent of one’s standard bank account. There
must be sufficient credit in the account concerned to facilitate money
transfer on mobile phone.
“We will help them open the World Money
Account, which is currently an option for Vodafone customers. Since we
have tied up our post-pay and pre-pay segments with bank accounts, it
becomes easier to set up a World Money Account,” Maher explained.
will set up a Trust to operate the World Money service and manage the
accounts in the bank. All World Money customers will be beneficiaries
of that trust.

This system will only make sense if the bank account that the beneficiaries are supposed to set up in local banks can be opened without the regulatory paperwork required by the bank itself to  open a standard account. Also, how will it work in villages where there may not be a physical bank, as seems to be implied by this description.

There's a lot of information about banks and money movement and mobile phones online today, @whiteafrican linked to this article on whether MPesa's success can be replicated outside of Kenya which I think seems to tie in nicely with the rest of the data points.

This entry was posted in Bottom of the pyramid/Poverty, Business, Culture & research, Design, Ethics, Marketing, Mobile platform, pay as you go economy, Strategy. Bookmark the permalink.