Announcing the launch of the 2016 Global Adoption Survey of Mobile Money

Today, we are launching the 2016 version of our annual Global Adoption Survey. This year’s survey continues to focus on the health of the industry and the development of the ecosystem. The scope encompasses mobile money, as well as credit, savings and insurance products enabled by mobile money. We encourage every service provider to participate, as their responses are valuable for creating visibility on key trends, milestones and innovations in the world of mobile money. This year’s survey release also marks another change—a revised definition of mobile money that better incorporates the fast-changing digital landscape.

Revising our definition

The rapid evolution of the mobile industry will continue to impact mobile money, particularly around the technical interface. The interface of mobile money is likely to change substantially in the coming three to five years as smartphone usage increases among the unbanked. To date, there are 95 countries with at least one active mobile money service, and the number of mobile phone connections in these markets is expected to reach around five billion by the end of 2020 (of which approximately three billion connections will be smartphones).

As the reality of smartphones as a mass market product becomes more apparent, it is necessary to review this trend in the context of our definition of mobile money. Previously, smartphone-only mobile money services were excluded, as services had to be available to the mass market. Going forward, our definition now includes smartphones as an interface for mobile money. In full, a service is considered a mobile money service if it meets the following criteria:

1. A mobile money service includes transferring money and making payments using the mobile phone.

2. The service must be available to the unbanked, e.g. people who do not have access to a formal account at a financial institution.

3. The services must offer at least one of the following products:

  • Domestic or international transfer;
  • Mobile payment, including bill payment, bulk disbursement, and merchant payment; or
  • Storage of value.

4. The service must offer an interface for initiating transactions for agents and/or customers that is available on mobile devices.

5. The service must offer a network of physical transactional points outside bank branches and ATMs that make the service widely accessible to everyone.

6. Mobile banking services that offer the mobile phone as just another channel to access a traditional banking product are not included.

7. Payment services linked to a traditional banking product or credit card, such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, are not included.

Changing this definition and including smartphone-only services means that our mobile money deployment tracker has increased (we’ve added seven services, taking the total number of live mobile money services to 294). The most noteworthy change to date is that under the new definition, Russia is now a market with live mobile money services. We will continue to monitor the impact of this new definition through time to time analysis – ensuring that our analysis is robust and the subsequent changes are captured and outlined clearly.

Participate in the 2016 Global Adoption Survey

We actively encourage any new service providers to contact us at [email protected] if they believe they qualify under the new definition, and we will be delighted to include them in the 2016 Global Adoption Survey. The survey is also available for download and the deadline to submit responses is 31 August 2016. 

Download the 2016 Global Adoption Survey