Popularity of mobile finance in emerging markets presents new m-commerce opportunities

on Wednesday May 9, 2012 @ 4:38

53% of mobile users in India, Kenya, Indonesia, Ghana and Nigeria have used m-banking and payments. It’s clear that limited access to formal banks in these growth and emerging markets, along with a high penetration of mobile devices, encourages mobile finance activities.

M-pesa agent stall in Tanzania

Mobiles ensure the safety and security of money, make payments more convenient and promote m-commerce opportunities for local entrepreneurs and western companies looking to move into these markets. It also provides great learning for those wanting to implement similar mobile finance models in more developed markets.

To better understand these trends, we conducted research to better understand the behaviour of people doing m-banking and m-payments in the markets mentioned above. We spoke to roughly 6000 mobile internet users - 63% of them live in the city, 92% use a feature phone and 88% were male.

M-commerce highlights from the survey

  • 53% of mobile internet users in India, Kenya, Indonesia, Ghana and Nigeria have used their mobile for a financial transaction
  • Kenya is the super star - 96% of mobile users have used m-banking or m-payments
  • There is no big difference in urban vs rural usage of m-commerce (details on slide 11 in the presentation below)
  • Sending airtime is the most popular m-banking activity (28% do it), it can be used as virtual credit to pay for food and services
  • Sending airtime is more popular in Africa, in India and Indonesia more traditional banking activities prevail

Why is Kenya leading the pack in terms of mobile payment uptake? They’ve had M-Pesa, the mobile based money transfer service, launched back in 2007, with over 17 million accounts today. Users can use their phone to pay for cab rides and electricity, to get money out of ATMs without owning an ATM card or even having a traditional bank account.

There’s a great arcticle about Kenyan and African mobile banking over at the National Geographic site: The Invisible Bank: How Kenya Has Beaten the World in Mobile Money

Want to conduct your own research using our panels? Get in touch &rquo;

Photo: Emil Sjöblom

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