Date archives "May 2019"

GSMA’s Payments as a Platform: the future of Mobile Money

Nika Naghavi from GSMA and Arunjay Katakum share their work on Payments as a Platform: For over a decade, mobile money has been driving financial inclusion, opening access to digital transactions and giving people the tools to better manage their financial lives. While mobile money has taken us a long way in a relatively short time, there is still much to be done to help close the digital divide and bring more people into the financial system; globally, 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked.

Today, the key question is how should the mobile money business model evolve to increase the relevance of mobile money accounts and meet the changing needs of individuals and small businesses? Transitioning towards a ‘payments as a platform’ approach that connects consumers with third-party services across a range of industries is at the heart of this evolution.

Platforms have been instrumental in the economic growth of both start-ups and larger companies, which rely on them to provide services online. Consumers now expect mobile phones to be a “one-stop shop” for their daily needs, including financial services. In this competitive landscape, innovative business models are crucial to ensuring that the mobile money industry can continue to serve customers sustainably and ensure the underserved are not left behind.

In the paper released earlier this year, they doubled clicked on this topic with the aim to answer the following questions:

1. What does a mobile money platform look like?

2. What is required to make the shift to ‘payments as a platform’ approach?

3. How should the mobile money business model evolve to increase the relevance of mobile money accounts and meet the changing needs of individuals and small businesses?

4. Who will benefit from the ‘payments as a platform’ approach?

Micro-entrepreneurs in a Platform Era

We talked to 27 micro-entrepreneurs in Kenya about how they use platforms (from social media sites to e-commerce marketplaces and online freelancing websites) in their day-to-day business. The platform practices these conversations revealed include: the prevalence of social media use, the intermingling of online and offline worlds, the adjustments made to tweak online credibility, and the unique approaches to upskilling. Platform product designers should build with these practices in mind. Our research aims to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be a micro-entrepreneur in the platform era, and how the spread of platforms presents new opportunities—and challenges—for their economic and financial inclusion.

To learn more about this research, visit mse.financedigitalafrica.org