Mobile Money, Domestic Remittances, Innovations in Savings – Top Picks of the Microfinance Blogosphere

> Posted by Center Staff

This edition of Top Picks features posts highlighting findings from new research on the global mobile money industry and on remittances in Africa and Asia, as well as a post on how innovation can encourage savings at the base of the pyramid.

A new post on GSMA’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked Blog shares preliminary findings from the MMU 2013 Global Mobile Money Adoption Survey. The Adoption Survey, which offers insights on the development of mobile money services and how they’re enabling the expansion of financial inclusion, will be published at the 2014 GSMA Mobile World Congress, February 24-27 in Barcelona. These preliminary findings included a few industry milestones. A few weeks ago the global industry surpassed 200 mobile money service deployments to total 208 services spread across 83 developing countries. Mobile money services are become a mainstay among mobile network operators, rather than a differentiator. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, mobile money is available in 36 out of the 47 countries in the region.

In Africa and Asia, domestic remittances may far surpass international remittances in both frequency and magnitude, two recent joint-reports from the Gates Foundation and Gallup found. That’s the subject of a new post on the Financial Access Initiative Blog, which details the reports’ key results and provides a brief overview of domestic remittances, internal migration, and how they relate. The reports revealed that across the 11 surveyed countries, 14 percent of people had sent money to family or friends within the country within the previous 30 days, and that 32 percent of these respondents had been on the receiving end of such a money transfer. In contrast, one to two percent of people reported sending an international remittance, and about three percent reported receiving an international remittance, in the previous 30 days.

“So how can we establish customer relevance, avoid product complexity and preserve broad product appeal?” Ignacio Mas proposes and addresses this question in regards to savings products in a new NextBillion post, Friction and Flow: How Innovation Can Put Relevance Back Into Formal Savings. In the post Mas impresses the importance of understanding the core customer proposition around savings in developing markets and outlines how “frictions” and “rules” are drivers of saving that need to define, rather than be tacked on as features of, savings products. Frictions are mechanisms to help people keep money saved, such as peer pressure and indivisibility. Rules are mechanisms to help people save more regularly, like recurring deposits.

Image credit: Ianf