IFC Mobile Money Study 2011 – Summary Report

Examining the adoption and development of mobile money

This study examines the development of the mobile-money (m-money) system in four countries, namely Brazil, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. It addresses issues in scaling up m-money adoption, reports on a survey of user and non-user perceptions, and describes types of demand for m-money. It also examines parameters that could spur or block m-money development.

The study compares m-money development in these four countries with the success stories of Kenya and Japan. Findings include:

  • M-money business models vary widely in the four countries;
  • Three basic categories of m-money business models from the perspective of main players are: mobile network operator (MNO)-centric, bank-centric, and collaborative;
  • It is common for an MNO to initiate the service in a developing country, but to later partner with a bank for enhanced financial services.

The study predicts an eventual move to countrywide interoperable platforms that allow transfers of funds among services with different operators. It proposes possibilities for investment in m-money and develops a theoretical framework to assess a country’s m-money development potential. The study also provides insights into appropriate business models, partnerships, regulatory environment, and developmental paths for m-money.