Research for Global Development

Understanding the Consumer Market for Mobile Money Services


Countries: Pakistan, Tanzania, Uganda

Challenge

Global interest in delivering financial services over mobile devices has exploded since the launch in 2007 of the pioneering M-PESA money transfer platform in Kenya.  There is still much to learn about the financial needs of the world’s poor and the best ways to meet them. To do so, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation saw a critical need for accurate and actionable market information which allows mobile operators, regulators, donors and other key stakeholders to make good decisions.

Approach

In 2011, working closely with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor team, InterMedia designed and launched the Financial Inclusion Tracker Surveys (FITS) in Pakistan, Tanzania and Uganda. These nationwide surveys, conducted annually over three years with a fixed group of households, track the household’s economic activity, their access to financial services generally, and their use of mobile financial services in particular.

Insights:

The FITS results highlighted the potential demand for mobile money services that offer more than basic cash transfers – notably, savings instruments. In Uganda and Tanzania, many households that use mobile money for cash transfer also use their registered accounts as a place to store money for extended periods of time, even though the accounts don’t pay interest.  In Tanzania, mobile money accounts are the second most used savings instrument after a hiding place (such as under the mattress).

While people tend to hear about mobile money services from media sources, they are most likely to sign up for a service on the recommendation from a friend or family member. What’s more, while awareness of the existence of mobile money services is fairly high, this doesn’t necessarily translate into understanding of the services. This gap points to a need to bolster marketing information.

InterMedia

Understanding the Consumer Market for Mobile Money Services


Countries: Pakistan, Tanzania, Uganda

Challenge

Global interest in delivering financial services over mobile devices has exploded since the launch in 2007 of the pioneering M-PESA money transfer platform in Kenya.  There is still much to learn about the financial needs of the world’s poor and the best ways to meet them. To do so, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation saw a critical need for accurate and actionable market information which allows mobile operators, regulators, donors and other key stakeholders to make good decisions.

Approach

In 2011, working closely with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor team, InterMedia designed and launched the Financial Inclusion Tracker Surveys (FITS) in Pakistan, Tanzania and Uganda. These nationwide surveys, conducted annually over three years with a fixed group of households, track the household’s economic activity, their access to financial services generally, and their use of mobile financial services in particular.

Insights:

The FITS results highlighted the potential demand for mobile money services that offer more than basic cash transfers – notably, savings instruments. In Uganda and Tanzania, many households that use mobile money for cash transfer also use their registered accounts as a place to store money for extended periods of time, even though the accounts don’t pay interest.  In Tanzania, mobile money accounts are the second most used savings instrument after a hiding place (such as under the mattress).

While people tend to hear about mobile money services from media sources, they are most likely to sign up for a service on the recommendation from a friend or family member. What’s more, while awareness of the existence of mobile money services is fairly high, this doesn’t necessarily translate into understanding of the services. This gap points to a need to bolster marketing information.

Marketing Materials

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