Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The need to feed the agents of mobile wallets

Making mobile banking deployments work is like connecting the dots in a big economic jigsaw puzzle. Only if all players in the complex eco-system win does mobile banking take off. If the economic benefit to key players are not clear, then they will not support the solution and it will go nowhere.

In most deployments, agents and the agent-network are probably the most critical element for the whole thing to work. It is therefore absolutely essential that agents benefit from running the system. As a matter of fact, the more they benefit, the more they will push the solution. It is in the interest of the operator of mobile banking services, to pay the agents as much as possible.

Often, mobile payment consultants urge operators to make the service as affordable as possible. They argue that subscribers will use the system if it is really cheap. If one were to make the fees zero, people would really use the system... WRONG!

If the operator does not generate sufficient revenue from subscribers, they will not be able to offer agents a big enough incentive to sign up customers and to motivate them to use the system. It is more critical to feed the agents, and not as important to feed the subscriber.

1 comment:

Braam said...

Agreed, but what about deals between customers of the same mobile service eg. From one Mpesa client to another in SA it costs R2.45. Surely this will inhibit the number of transactions..