Mobile Money: Getting to Scale in Emerging Markets

How can the success rate of mobile money be improved?
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This paper seeks not only to identify factors that drive on-the-ground success of mobile money, but also to develop a preliminary set of prioritized, actionable recommendations. The study team interviewed and conducted workshops with more than 40 leading mobile-money providers (primarily mobile-network operators and banks) and industry experts, which they supplemented with a survey of about a dozen providers. The study revealed three critical success factors that would help providers after they have launched a deployment and start to face execution problems: paying attention to managing the agent network, creating a compelling product offering, and maintaining corporate commitment. The paper notes that barriers to mobile moneys success mainly arise from common misperceptions or mistakes in execution. Providers could vastly improve upon the low success rates of mobile-money deployments by better understanding their customers and agents, and investing more confidently and patiently in mobile money. Specific recommendations include:

  • Grow the network with the customer base;
  • Develop an understanding of the agent business case;
  • Invest in maintaining agent quality;
  • Choose a narrow killer-app product to go to market and promote it through significant and ongoing marketing;
  • Wait to achieve minimum scale with initial product before diversifying;
  • Set yourself up for future success.

About this Publication

By Cobert, B., Helms, B. , Parker, D.