OPINION: Mobile Money Services – Not Mobile Wallets – Will Lead To Financial Inclusion in India
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Mobile wallet services have been around for quite some time now and have gained considerable traction. However, the broader genre of mobile money services are yet to etch a mark. Mobile money services would include not just mobile wallets but also mobile banking and mobile commerce, and would signal a move towards the financial inclusion goal that the mobile platform offers to enable. Telcos have an important role to play. Today, India has at least five major countrywide mobile wallet services in operation. Airtel Money, which is one of the largest mobile wallet players in India, witnessed a wide acceptability last year while achieving a growth of monthly active subscribers of nearly 55 percent year-on-year. It had 1.7 million subscribers as on March 31 2014. Similarly, Vodafone’s mPesa service completed a pan-India rollout in March this year and was made available across 60,000 agent outlets. Other than telcos, key players include the pure-play mobile wallet service providers. In India, mobile telephony enriches the lives of over 900 million people and has a tremendous potential to facilitate a paradigm shift in the way people bank and transact. The evolution of mobile money will thus accelerate other financial products and services while enabling micro insurance and micro investments and also giving rise to several related business opportunities.