In Bill and Melinda Gates' Big Bet for the next 15 years, one of the major breakthroughs they foresee is a dramatic change in the quality of life of the world's poorest people. Made possible by mobile banking. Here are a few reasons to get very, very excited by the possibilities. And to hope they are absolutely right.
Mobile money accounts outnumber bank accounts in some countries already
In nine African countries, mobile bank accounts outnumber traditional bank accounts. In Tanzania, 44% of adults used some form of mobile money in 2013. Only 14% of Tanzanian adults use banks.
There's an enormous appetite for mobile money services from the 2.5 billion people across the world who don't have a bank account (according to World Bank figures). Thanks to technology advances, falling handset prices and increased competition to serve this market, the potential is exploding.
Imagine what's around the corner now entry-level smartphones in India and China cost around 30 US dollars
They cost less than a pair of trainers. And for your money, you'll get WhatsApp, Google and Facebook pre-loaded, a 3-mega pixel camera and a host of other goodies and functionality that would have been unthinkable at this price point a few years ago. It's still a relatively high price threshold for people to reach. But the benefits are going to prompt those who can to upgrade en-masse. Once the missing 2.5 billion are online with us, the world is going to look, feel and work in a different way. And the potential for mobile money to do more and do better for people and their communities will never have been greater
Once the missing 2.5 billion are online with us, the world is going to look, feel and work in a different way.
Once someone accesses basic mobile payment services, they're likely to access a wider range of life-improving services
There's a trend that begins when someone starts to access mobile payment services via their mobile phone. They begin to access all sorts of other services with the potential to transform their lives and the lives of their families. Everything from loans to start small businesses, to insurance to safeguard valuable incomes, to the ability to save money for the future.
Reduced contact with officials = reduced potential for corruption
In more and more countries, mobile payments are opening the door to all sorts of payments. Taxes. Licenses. Permits. In countries where corruption is rife, less face-to-face contact with officials means less opportunity for extortion. Which is a win: win for people and their governments.
Greater innovation in financial services in India, Africa and China means more prosperity and innovation for all of us
In the West, innovation in consumer financial services has been slow, sluggish and distinctly lack lustre. For years now people have looked to the growth of services like M-Pesa in Africa as a bright spot of innovation. In a future where people across the world are more plugged in to vital financial services, it's not unrealistic to hope that the improvements will be felt across the planet. More prosperity. More happiness. More new, bolder innovations to share with the world.
venturethree is immensely proud to be partnering with a client who is leading a mobile revolution: Reliance Industries in India.