Mobile Money in Emerging Markets: The Business Case for Financial Inclusion
Mobile money systems offer a dual promise, as an engine for financial inclusion, and as an emerging markets business opportunity for providers. Two billion individuals and 200 million small businesses in emerging economies today lack access to savings and credit. Success in financial inclusion entails reaching these users with products that go beyond payments and can significantly improve people’s financial lives. Providers who can do so profitably can tap into huge and largely untouched markets.
To uncover how digital payments providers can capture these opportunities while benefiting people currently without access to financial services, McKinsey&Company has examined the actual financial and transaction data of a sample of mobile money providers, all on a blinded basis.
The main findings from this research are summarized below:
- Scale enables ultimate profitability but requires significant up-front spend.
- Regulation can accelerate or hinder ability to grow—or make scale a prize not worth attaining.
- Opportunities for providers will increase as mobile money business models evolve.
- To seize current and future opportunities, providers will need to partner or acquire new skills.