GSMA: mobile money accounts hit half a billion in 2016

Mobile money servicesTelecom industry body GSMA said there are more than half a billion registered mobile money accounts in 92 countries in 2016.

Nearly 174 million mobile money accounts are active on a 90 day basis. There are 35 mobile money services with over 1 million active accounts.

There are more than 4.3 million mobile money agent outlets, with 30 countries now having 10 times more active mobile money agents than bank branches.

The average cost of sending international remittances using mobile money is less than half the cost of doing so via a global money transfer operator.

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“Giving underserved people access to digital payments has expanded financial inclusion to hundreds of millions of people in developing countries and has enabled them to be more secure, more empowered and more active contributors to local communities,” said Mats Granryd, director general of GSMA.

In December 2016 alone, the mobile money industry processed 1.3 billion transactions, averaging around 30,000 transactions a minute.

With 277 live services in 92 countries, mobile money is available in 66 per cent of low- and middle-income markets.

The use of mobile money in a growing range of applications, such as school fees, pay-as-you-go solar systems, and international remittances.

Beyond its significant contributions to universal financial access goals, including the World Bank’s initiative to enable a billion transaction accounts by 2020, mobile money is a key enabler of broader economic development and empowerment.