Why Mobile Money?

 

Mobile Money is an umbrella term for the deliverance of digital financial services over mobile platforms. It increases financial inclusion by providing a safe and secure digital payment system, and by increasing access to basic banking services, such as credit, insurance and savings.

BRAC is interested in learning from others, understanding and capturing the lessons from pilot projects, and sharing insights. This is just one part of a broader initiative to digitalize as much as possible within BRAC’s operations.

In Bangladesh, approximately half of the adult population is unbanked. In less than four years, the mobile money industry has scaled to meet these individuals’ needs, reaching over 25 million registered clients.

Bangladesh is a fast-growing mobile money market. Our partner, bKash, is the second-largest mobile money provider in the world, as industry growth in the country has reached impressive heights. Between January 2013 and February of this year, the number of mobile money clients in Bangladesh increased five-fold to 25 million users, with the number of daily transactions increasing from 10 million to 77 million.

What’s wrong with cash?

Put simply, cash is expensive. It’s insecure, hard to track, and subject to theft and fraud. Moving and storing cash can be costly- especially for the poor.

For organisations, cash also poses many challenges. It is time consuming to maintain records, and manual data entry is susceptible to human error.

Why Mobile Money?

Many poor people do not feel comfortable dealing with banks, which typically do not provide products or services that meet the needs of the poor. Outside of major cities, banks and ATMs are rare.

Instead, mobile money users have ‘wallets’, linked to their mobile phone numbers. Users visit agents to load or withdraw money from their mobile wallets.

Whether through digital payments or access to banking services, mobile money has tremendous potential to improve financial inclusion among the poor- even in remote corners of the developing world.