Barcelona – the land of Gaudi, Lionel Messi, and mobile money during this week’s Mobile World Congress. Taking up a good portion of Hall 2.1 at the Fira is the Mobile Money Pavilion. Here, you can find folks like MasterCard partner Utiba and other leading global and regional providers who are helping to bring electronic financial services to people in developed and developing countries.
The convenience of mobile money hit home for me during a morning walk down La Rambla in Barcelona today. In a city where businesses open a little later, I passed the following money transfer shop.
Locked shut. At 9:15am. In a major cosmopolitan area where I can order cava with my breakfast (not that I would) or buy gelato at midnight (which I did), I could not transfer funds to someone that may be in need, or receive them, before the shop owner was ready to start his/her day. What if my need was more pressing? Or, what if I lived in a remote location and was without ready access to such a shop? Mobile money helps to solve this and many other issues people around the world face in making purchases.
But current mobile money stored value accounts offer consumers basic services such as mobile top-up, bill payments and person-to-person payments. There’s a much bigger mainstream financial world that people need access to, which is why MasterCard recently launched its Mobile Money Partnership Program , enabling consumers to purchase goods and services via their mobile phones at millions of brick and mortar and online merchants worldwide, as well as transfer funds and pay bills.
With over five billion mobile phone users worldwide, this program provides powerful options to people through a device that’s already in the palm of their hands today. It helps ensure consumers can transact where and when they choose. Along with our initial program partners Comviva, Sybase and Utiba, we’re redefining mobile money to reach the next billion consumers.
Based on the activity within the Mobile Money Pavilion and the conference tracks dedicated to the topic this week, we’re not alone in understanding its value and importance. What about you, what are your thoughts around mobile money?