Why is there a need for GSMA Mobile Money API Specification? A comparison with other industry standards

Mobile money is a rapidly growing sector of the financial services industry across developing markets, reaching many people who do not have access to other financial services. Enabling the mobile money ecosystem through open APIs is key to both the success of the industry and increasing financial inclusion for mobile money users

As mobile money providers look to create and advance their open API strategy, there are many factors to consider when making the underlying technical and business decisions.  There are a variety of approaches that mobile money providers could potentially use to deliver open APIs including proprietary APIs, standards based APIs or common APIs.

This paper argues that as a relatively young industry within the financial services sector, the mobile money industry can learn from the success of adjacent financial services verticals which have seen a similar evolution and growth over previous decades.  A significant factor in this success has been the mature ecosystems created from increased third party integrations, made possible through standards based or common open APIs, which has ultimately benefited financial services providers, third parties such as service providers and merchants, and users

The GSMA Mobile Money API was created in collaboration with the mobile money industry to provide a harmonised API Specification for mobile money use cases in order to promote an industry defined common API for this purpose.

As a number of wider financial services API standards are also available, the GSMA undertook analysis of the four main existing and emerging API standards and APIs, in order to evaluate all the potential approaches for mobile money providers to deliver standards based or common open APIs. This paper outlines the results of the detailed analysis on the scope and technical design of these four standards and APIs, and how they compare in these areas with the GSMA API, and based on this analysis offers conclusions and recommendations.

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