Adoption Driver No.3 – Registered and ready to use in 5 minutes or less

This is the final post in our series on customer adoption leading up to the Mobile Money Summit in Barcelona. The previous posts mapped to the first two steps in the adoption framework that will be released in the Mobile Money for the Unbanked Annual Report: driving awareness and driving demand. The final post relates to the third step – optimizing trial. Specifically, this post addresses the importance of designing an efficient and effective registration process.Surveys in the Philippines and Kenya have revealed that deployments in advanced mobile money markets enable customers to set up an account in less than 5 minutes. In the Philippines and Kenya, 42% and 41% of customers respectively indicate that it took them less than 5 minutes to register for mobile money. These benchmarks have been achieved based on the actual processes designed by M-PESA, SMART and Globe, as well as the regulatory environments in which they operate.

In any market, two key regulatory elements impact the efficiency and effectiveness of the registration process. The first is whether non-bank agents are permitted to register customers for mobile money (and subsequently perform cash-in/cash-out). Enabling non-bank agents (i.e. airtime agents, supermarkets, etc.) to register customers for mobile money expands the reach of the service and supports efforts to scale. This has been the case in Kenya, where there are 6,000+ M-PESA agents that can be leveraged for registration, compared to 876 bank branches. The second element is whether customers are able to register with information that is proportionate to their level of risk. Markets like South Africa have introduced Proportionate Know-Your-Customer regulation that makes it easier for customers who will transact low volumes to proceed through a registration process that reflects the low risk that they present.

Mobile money deployments themselves also play a key role in designing effective registration processes. Beyond creating a network of registration points that are easily accessible to both rural and urban customers and designing a process that make it easy to register, successful deployments also think proactively about the ‘ready to use’ element. It’s one thing to register a customer, but another to ensure they become an active user. One approach used by a deployment in South Africa is to tie agent compensation to actual use. This has been done by providing roughly half the commission for simply registering a customer and only releasing the other half once a set number of transactions have been completed. This incentive structure helps shape agent behaviour and ensures that they provide support to their customers.

The full details of the adoption framework will be available next week in the 2009 Mobile Money for the Unbanked Annual Report.