Mobile Money Transactions Going Global

This article was originally published in The Growth Masters Daily (

Mobile Money Transactions Going Global


David J Dunworth O.C.E.

Africa   In my recent article entitled True Social Entrepreneurship, I discussed the Bottom of the Pyramid of the world population. Currently the BOP encompasses more than 4 billion low-income consumers.  Topics such as what is actually happening in places like Africa, as well as other emerging countries, and the economic challenges and opportunities within them. Money transactions such as microlending, micropayments, money transfers and a whole list of other forms of money management are already occurring

Reported recently in a new research report by Berg Insight®, mobile money users will grow from 133 million users in 2010 to reach more than 700 million users in 2015. The total value of mobile money transactions will reach more than $215 Billion U.S.

What are mobile money users?  Mobile money (micropayments) transactions; those payments that are placed by a mobile device is as simple as I can explain it.  Currently, at the writing of this article, Wikipedia does not possess a clear definition of Mobile Money Users. 

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say.

Mobile payment or known also as Mobile wallet is an alternative payment method. Instead of paying with cash, cheque or credit cards, a consumer can use a mobile phone to pay for a wide range of services and digital or hard goods such as:

    • Music, videos, ringtones, online game subscription or items, wallpapers and other digital goods.
    • Transportation fare (bus, subway or train), parking meters and other services
    • Books, magazines, tickets and other hard goods.

There are four primary models for mobile payments:

    • Premium SMS based transactional payments
    • Direct Mobile Billing
    • Mobile web payments (WAP)

Additionally there is a new emerging model from Haiti: direct carrier/bank co-operation.

Mobile payment has been well adopted in many parts of Europe and Asia.[1] Combined market for all types of mobile payments is expected to reach more than $600B globally by 2013,[2] which will be the double of the current figure,[3] while mobile payment market for goods and services, excluding contactless NFC transactions and money transfers, is expected to exceed $300B globally by 2013.[4]

 Some mobile payment solutions are also used in developing countries for micropayments.

As stated in the Berg Insight report on International Mobile Money transactions, the value registered in 2010 reached a paltry $1 Billion U.S., but is expected to grow to more than $1 6 Billion U.S. by the year 2016.  That extreme growth will enable the emerging world to become more involved in the global economy, as the influx of microloans, micropayments and mobile devices used by the emerging world.

While there are numerous players in the mobile money transactions, Vodaphone happens to be the leader in this industry.

As stated in Wikipedia,

Vodafone Group plc is a global telecommunications company headquartered in London, United Kingdom.[2] It is the world’s largest mobile telecommunications company measured by revenues and the world’s second-largest measured by subscribers (behind China Mobile), with around 341 million proportionate subscribers as of November 2010.[3][4][5] It operates networks in over 30 countries and has partner networks in over 40 additional countries.[6] It owns 45% of Verizon Wireless, the largest mobile telecommunications company in the United States measured by subscribers………………

……………In March 2007, Safaricom, which is part owned by Vodafone and the leading mobile communication provider in Kenya, launched a mobile payment solution developed by Vodafone.[42] M-PESA is aimed at mobile customers who do not have a bank account, typically because they do not have access to a bank or their income is insufficient to justify a bank account. The M-PESA system allows customers to deposit and withdraw cash via local agents, and transfer money to other mobile phone users via SMS.

As one can guess, it is the United States and the rest of North and South America that lag behind the rest of the world.  But things are heating up and emerging providers like First Data are bringing mobile money transactions to the forefront of the mobile age.

Wikipedia is nice enough to have a brief definition of First Data, which follows:

First Data Corporation is an American payment processing company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. First Data is a provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions. The company’s portfolio includes merchant transaction processing services; credit, debit, private-label, gift, payroll and other prepaid card offerings; fraud protection and authentication solutions; electronic check acceptance services through TeleCheck; as well as Internet commerce and mobile payment solutions. The company’s STAR Network offers PIN-secured debit acceptance at ATM and retail locations.

From the published First Data Whitepaper entitled The Risks and Opportunities in a Mobile Commerce Economy, this quote sums it up rather succinctly.

The era of the electronic wallet is closer than you think. In fact, it’s here now and it’s red-hot.  When secure payments, real-time banking and highly targeted marketing comes to cell phones, BlackBerry® devices, iPod® digital media players and other connected devices, it will represent the biggest opportunity in the history of commerce. Which industry players win, which ones lose and which ones simply sit on the sidelines has everything to do with decisions being made and deals being forged right now.

As you can probably surmise, we as Americans are at the forefront of the mobile revolution, and at its infancy in this part of the world.

Hang on and enjoy the ride!

TeXT-Icon Mobile Marketing Communications

David J Dunworth is an internationally acclaimed author and presenter on the subjects of business, focusing on the entrepreneurs and emerging enterprise arenas.  He is the CEO of TeXT-Icon Mobile Marketing Communications (, an international text and video communications firm offering affordable and bleeding edge technologies for marketing.

You can read his blog by visiting:


About davidjdunworth

Dunworth’s success comes from a simple belief; “I can sleep when I am dead; then there will be plenty of time for that!” Since the door to door days of his youth, Dunworth has opened, managed and sold more than 25 businesses, and works as a consultant to entrepreneurs and emerging enterprises. His advice for entrepreneurs desiring to grow quickly: “Find the busiest man or woman you can find and enlist their support. You’d be amazed at the results.”
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