Mobile Money

Mobile Money Interoperability (MMI), a New Prospect to Grab

 

MMI is a service which allows direct and uninterrupted transfer of funds from one mobile money account to another across networks. It has a larger scope of incorporating all financial institutions to make bill payments, merchant payments and other financial services such as interest-bearing savings account, credit, and insurance.

It will also enable mobile money users to transfer funds directly from their wallets to any bank account, debit or pull funds from their accounts and credit their wallets. Users can also transfer funds from their wallet to any e-zwich card.

There is no doubt that this new development will go a long way to bring both the formal and informal sector together on one bigger platform for money creation and easy transaction. Despite the numerous advantages, the other side (Cons) cannot be overlooked.

Pros

  • Ease of receiving and making payments for goods and services with increase safety
  • Reduces reliance on cash
  • Lower cost of transaction
  • 24/7 Access to funds in wallets and bank accounts
  • Ease of moving funds between wallets and banks with maximum security
  • Intersecting formal sector with informal for money creation
  • An increase in financial inclusion
  • Depositors will earn between 1.5% to 7% interests on their deposit.
  • Customers stand to gain immensely from the impending fierce fight for market share as interoperability opens up the market. Already, in a bid to stave off the impending competition, MTN is establishing self-service points akin to ATMs for the convenience of its customers, and it is expected that the other networks will follow suit.

Accessing and paying for government services mainly through digital means;

  • Reduces cash-handling costs
  • Reduces security risks, minimizes theft of funds
  • Enhances transparency whilst improving on our operational efficiencies
  • Presently, the country is witnessing a shift to a new kind of retail  banking system where a large segment of the population, previously unbanked, are being absorbed into the financial services sector, via mobile money, as one read from recent development

Cons

  • Poor network in a particular day would mean no transactional transfers. This will go long way to affect businesses with total dependence on mobile money transactions. Also, there are fears that network operators, in its bid to defend a market share that is sure to decline somewhat, will deliberate try to sabotage transactions between its own network and other networks.
  • With high level illiteracy in the informal, the platform could encourage more fraudulent activities.
  • Charlatans could also rip the MMI platform to engage in fraudulent activities such as money laundering.
  • The maximum amount of money one can transact is small for the formal sector.

New Prospect to Grab

BANKS

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) was early to recognize the potential for branchless banking and issued guidelines in 2008 to support its development. The guidelines called for branchless banking services to be led by banks and added a distinctive feature we haven’t seen elsewhere: there must be at least 3 banks involved in every service (‘many to many’) and no exclusive partnerships are allowed. The BoG’s primary goal was to create a system that is open and interoperable so as to provide greater points of access for consumers while ensuring the system is driven by banks (which the BoG perceived as less risky).This decision was informed by Ghana’s experience (similar to many countries) with proprietary ATM networks which were not interoperable, resulting in customer inconvenience and perhaps limiting financial inclusion. With the introduction of mobile money interoperability, the banks can invest hugely to operate branchless banks which is easily accessible by all.

Also attractive services (Overdraft, Bancassurance, and the rest like that) could be provided to encourage savings and investment rather than allowing customers to use the MMI platform only for transactions.

INSURANCE COMPANIES

Insurance companies could take up the challenge to insure the risk involve in transacting business on MMI platform. This can go a long way to strengthen the trust in the services that will be provided by this platform.

The insurance company should also rethink their investment into MMI, and look beyond using mobile money services only as a mode of payment.

 

There is no doubt that this new development will help digitize the financial sector and go a long way to increase financial inclusion by the informal sector.