MWC 2016: GSMA Hails Mobile Money Growth

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GSMA is happy after a milestone one billion mobile payments were processed during December 2015

The continued growth of mobile payments is leading to a global transformation in financial and banking sectors, according to new figures revealed at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

Research by the GSMA found that so-called ‘mobile money’ services witnessed more than one billion transactions were processed in December 2015, the highest figure yet and a crucial milestone for the widespread adoption of the technology.

The number of registered users also saw a major growth throughout 2015 as nearly 100 million new registered accounts became active in 2015, bringing the number to 411 million globally.

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mobile paymentsThe GSMA notes that mobile money is changing the landscape of financial inclusion, as with 271 services in 93 countries, services are now available in 85 percent of markets where less than 20 per cent of the population have an account at a formal financial institution.

Overall, 30 mobile money services have more than one million active accounts and seven services have more than four million, showing the growing popularity of the system across the world.

The services saw particularly strong growth in Sub-Saharan Africa Latin America and the Caribbean, but the GSMA expects that new mobile money services are expected to grow by as much as 50 per cent in Europe and Central Asia, as well as the Middle East and North Africa, demonstrating the significant traction that mobile money is gaining globally.

“Mobile money is driving social and economic impact for millions of people in emerging markets,” said John Giusti, chief regulatory officer at the GSMA.

“Over the last decade, mobile money has done more to extend the reach of financial services than traditional bricks and mortar banking were able to do over the last century. With 411 million mobile money accounts today, mobile is an increasingly critical platform for expanding financial inclusion globally.”

The UK has long been a central market for encouraging mobile money and payments, as consumers take to the technology with aplomb. A recent survey by Deloitte discovered that 34 percent of 18-34 year olds in the UK were positive towards using mobile payments.

And figures from Juniper Research predicted that that the number of annual purchases made via mobiles, tablets, desktops and other connected devices should reach 125 billion annually by 2018 – 60 percent more than the total number of transactions in 2015.

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