What if America’s unbanked had mobile wallets?
Monday, March 3, 2014
FORTUNE — Delivering financial services to the world’s unbanked masses is not a topic that usually includes a developed economy like the United States.
That’s because Africa is the global leader in this area. Its mobile network operators are boosting their bottom lines and raising standards of living by offering mobile wallets to the unbanked — making it possible to conduct a variety of transactions from person-to-person money transfers to bill payments and point-of-sale purchases.
But the stark reality is that there are as many as 68 million Americans without a bank account or debit card, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. So perhaps it’s not surprising that U.S. wireless carriers are finally waking up to the opportunity of offering financial services over cellular phones in lower-income zip codes — not only to make life easier for the people living in them, but also to reduce churn and increase customer loyalty.