[ View the story "A low-tech revolution" on Storify] A low-tech revolution Are simple phones smarter than you think?
The Stream· Thu, Jan 10 2013 09:52:40
In 2007, the mobile money service M-Pesa was launched in Kenya in order to simplify monetary transactions. The idea revolved around using
phones to connect different parts of the country. Five years later, M-Pesa boasted a subscription rate of
Kenyans and has
An advertisement from South Africa:
M-Pesa there were two bank branches for every 100,000 Kenyans; today there are more than 37,000 M-Pesa agents serving the functions of a bank for his or her community.
M-Pesa demonstration in Kenyatracyhackshaw
The M-PESA cash merchants (or ‘agents’ in M-PESA parlance) pre-buy mobile money so that they can sell it against cash to the customers who come to their retail store for cash-in operations. They are investing their own working capital and are not intermediating someone else’s funds.10 Things You Thought You Knew about M-PESA | CGAP
For people who live in isolated areas, the service means no longer having to carry lots of cash to markets or towns, risking losing huge amounts to banditry and theft. For people without permanent addresses or bank accounts, the service means they can pay what cash they have to m-Pesa in exchange for mobile creditThe Invisible Bank: How Kenya Has Beaten the World in Mobile Money – News Watch
FILE KENYA SAFARICOMAJstream
Some suggest that M-Pesa, rather than decreasing the economic divide, has actually
Others point out that some benefits of the service cannot be ignored.
The incomes of Kenyan households using M-PESA have increased by 5-30% since they started mobile banking, according to a recent study.Telecoms: The power of mobile money | The Economist
Kenya’s M-Pesa proves that when people are empowered, they will use digital tech to innovate on their own behalf:
2012, Vodafone introduced M-Pesa to India.
One service company in competition with M-Pesa is
, which has reported 150,000 customers as of June 2011.
Eko has processed a staggering $270 million in transactions– most of them for less than a few dollars at a time.Indian Mobile Bank Eko Raises $5.5 Million, Processing $270 Million in Payments a Year | TechCrunch
An Eko campaign:
Voices of Eko Customers2008Eko
With a population of 180 million, a mobile phone penetration of more than 70% and a banked ratio of only 22%, Pakistan offers a large potential market for Mobile Financial Services (MFS).IBM News room - 2012-11-01 Leading Pakistan Mobile Banking Provider Uses IBM Cloud to Expand Delivery of Secure Financial Services on Mobile Phones - United States
To capitalise on the void in the market, the Pakistani government has
mobile banking to the public.
#Pakistan: Number of mobile #banking accounts showed a remarkable growth of 25 percent during July-September 2012, crossing 1.8 million markPakConsulate Houston
Here, one of the uses for mobile money is shown:
Easy Paisa Bill Payment Urdutelenoreasypaisa
During the same fiscal quarter, the Pakistani state bank
exchanges totaling $1.42 billion (139 billion rupees).
Mobile banking and financial services are expected to grow significantly in Pakistan in the coming years. Increased demand for affordable banking, a lack of traditional banking infrastructure and an aggressive branchless banking mandate from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has driven quick uptake of mobile banking in the country.IBM News room - 2012-11-01 Leading Pakistan Mobile Banking Provider Uses IBM Cloud to Expand Delivery of Secure Financial Services on Mobile Phones - United States
Can this type of simple technology thrive in the US? With the success of mobile banking abroad,
, such as the former US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, hinted that such a system would be useful to Americans.
“We do not have such a system in America and we could import it to make it part of our national payment system,”U.S to Adopt Use of Kenya’s M-Pesa technological innovation | Alshahid Network
I wish America had Mpesa ...Adhiambo
Others were not as optimistic:
The answer to the above question is, of course, no.” The reason we don’t have an M-Pesa-like platform in the U.S. is not that no one had thought of it, but that there is no need for it. There are many, many different ways for us to electronically pay our bills and to transfer money and there have been for many years.M-Pesa at 5: A Huge Success, but Has Its Limitations
The market penetration of smart phones in the United States
has left little room for low-tech mobile banking to grow.
Google launches a mobile payment service that gets America excited. HELLO. We've had MPESA for almost a decade ...