Extending Reach: Mobile Money in Rural Areas

Crafting mobile financial service strategies for rural markets

This paper provides a snapshot of service providers that have made tailored strategies to drive uptake of their services in rural areas and tackle uniquely rural challenges. The paper uses data from the ‘2013 State of the Industry Report on Mobile Financial Services’ to identify nine mobile money service providers with a strong presence in rural areas of their respective markets. Through interviews with these providers, the paper captures key insights into how they have successfully expanded mobile financial services into hard-to-reach areas. It also illuminates some of the common challenges providers face in addressing the needs of rural and remote customers. Insights from the study include:

  • Providers can leverage data, partnerships, and liquidity management tactics to address challenges related to lack of infrastructure, agent management, and cash distribution;
  • In order to develop and communicate a compelling value proposition for the rural market segment, mobile money service providers need to understand the nuances of how rural consumers earn, save, and spend their money;
  • Providers can use innovative approaches to simplify the customer interface and overcome the challenge of lower literacy levels;
  • Regulation plays an important role in extending the reach of mobile money and increasing financial inclusion specially when there is an absence of formal identification documents.

About this Publication

By Frydrych, J. , Aschim, H.