Mobile money accounts increase by 31 percent
The number of active mobile money users has grown rapidly year-on-year to 411 million according to a new report released by the GSMA, the global mobile operators association. The State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money outlines that mobile network operators continue to play a leading role in delivering mobile money and expanding financial inclusion. As of December 2015, there were more than 134 million accounts active, with 30 services having more than one million active accounts and seven services with more than four million. “Mobile money is driving social and economic impact for millions of people in emerging markets,” said John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “Over the last decade, mobile money has done more to extend the reach of financial services than traditional bricks and mortar banking were able to do over the last century. With 411 million mobile money accounts today, mobile is an increasingly critical platform for expanding financial inclusion globally.” According to the report mobile money is now available in 85 percent of markets where less than 20 percent of the population have an account at a formal financial institution. Key 2015 findings include:
  • More than one billion transactions were processed in December 2015;
  • Mobile money is available in 85 percent of countries where most of the population lacks access to formal financial institutions;
  • Registered accounts continue to grow with nearly 100 million new registered accounts in 2015, bringing the number to 411 million globally;
  • In 2015, there were 29 cross-border mobile money initiatives connecting 19 countries, with cross-border remittances growing 52 percent, by volume, over the last year; and
  • More than three-quarters of respondents are maintaining or increasing their investment in mobile money over the previous year.
While sub-Saharan Africa continues to account for the majority of live mobile money services, more than half of the new services launched in 2015 were outside this region, primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean. New mobile money services are expected to grow by as much as 50 percent in Europe and Central Asia, as well as the Middle East and North Africa.
By Jonathan Andrews
Photo: Erik Hersman