Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Funding mobile wallets through grants and pensions

I recently saw a very informative presentation from CGAP highlighting a obvious, but very important angle on how to bank the underbanked by means of government grants and pensions. It is well known that getting cash into wallets is one of the biggest challenges of effectively deploying mobile wallet solutions for the underbanked (MMU). This is usually achieved by an extensive agent network with the ability to receive cash and credit the wallets of the subscribers.

In the CGAP presentation the point is made that more than 155 million people receive regular payments from their governments and that less than 20% of these actually get paid directly into a bank account. The rest are distributed by means of very inefficient cash mechanisms. The following quote from the presentation: "A growing body of evidence shows that access to financial services enables the poor to better withstand shocks, build assets, and link into the wider economy as fuller economic citizens.". It seems as if it should be the duty of governments to implement aggressive plans to pay grants and pensions into low cost wallets.

Currently, mobile banking is used to distribute grants effectively. For instance the payment of ex-soldiers in the DRC in conjunction with Celpay and Concern in Kenya (to quote only two). The tremendous benefits of this approach can be seen in the following youtube video, that for me, is one of the most inspirational stories of what we are trying to achieve with MMU.

1 comment:

Simon said...

Of course one could easily see this being turned around and the same mechanism being used for regional and national tax collection.

What the Government gives away in one hand they can get back with the other.

Another reason why Governments might want to promote mobile initiated financial services...