Jan 08

How can Mobile Money Operators Help Make Remittances Smarter

Ever since its emergence, mobile money has experienced rapid growth on a global scale. This can be attributed to the vast benefits that come with the use of mobile money services. Besides affordability, mobile money services are fast, safe and secure. Mobile money transfers are also a convenient way of sending money, both within countries and across borders. While these services have contributed considerably to the financial sector, there are a number of improvements that mobile money operators can make to help in making remittances smarter and a whole lot better.

Enhance Access to Services

One of the challenges that people face with mobile money is access to services. Although you may have your mobile money account on your phone, you will still need to deposit money into and withdraw money from your account. In order to do this, you will need the services of a mobile money agent or a banking facility. To enhance remittance, mobile money operators should invest in enhancing the access users have to such services . This can be achieved through stationing mobile money agents in strategic locations where they can easily be reached by the users. For example, MTN Ghana has over 85,000 active agents across the country giving users a convenient way to access their mobile money services.

With easy access to the services, remittance will definitely be made better, both for the user sending the money and the one receiving it.

Security Assurances

Although mobile money remittance is considered one of the safest and most secure ways of transferring money, some rare cases of fraud still exist. This often leads to the loss of money by account holders . In Kenya, for example, fraudsters have been using falsely created emergency situations to con parents out of their money. Similarly in Uganda, Government officials including members of parliament lost thousands of Shillings in a con involving mobile money. Cases like these are making more people question the security of using mobile money and how their data is protected.

Enhancing the security and safety features of the mobile money services being offered is a sure way of boosting the efficiency of mobile money remittance. When designing or implementing mobile money systems, the operators need to come up with enhanced security features  that protect users’ money and account details during and after transfers. For example, Apple Pay requires users’ fingerprints to send the payment, without which the transaction will not be processed. Also, Google Wallet requires a preset four digit pin to be entered for the transaction to be processed. In cases where an Android or iPhone is lost/stolen, these applications can be disconnected through remote access.

Broaden the Area of Coverage

Typically, mobile money services are available within the area covered by the operator/carrier. This is an element that tends to limit the services to a specific country or geographic region. Widening the area of coverage by the mobile money operator is an ideal way of enhancing remittance. The operators should aim at covering a wide geographic area and operate across borders. This will improve the number of people who have access to mobile money services and as a result, make remittance smarter. Operators that are unable to reach certain areas should also partner with the operators of that region to make their services available.

Offer Additional Financial Services

There are quite a number of services  that are provided by large financial institutions like banks that are not available for mobile money users. Some of these services are critical to smooth and efficient remittance. For instance, bank customers have access to a whole range of banking services like loans, profit on investment and credit history. By partnering with a bank, mobile money service providers can enhance their offering. A recent example is that of Airtel who launched a loan service in Kenya by partnering with Maisha Microfinance Bank.

Access to credit and building up a credit history or transaction banking history is extremely important for the end user. In addition to helping unbanked people become financial included, these services – when provided through a simple mobile phone – can also make people more financially independent and efficient at using their money.

By partnering with banks and other financial institutions, mobile money operators can bring these services to the users and therefore play a positive role in financial inclusion and making money transfers more efficient and convenient.

Enhance User Friendliness

A considerable number of people face challenges in using mobile money services due to the complexity of the processes. There are usually several procedures  that need to be followed when sending or withdrawing money from a mobile money account. These include initiating the app, signing in, navigating and selecting the right option, entering the amount, reviewing the transaction and then finally sending it. However, user friendliness can be enhanced by replacing the signing in process with fingerprint access or by a three/four digit code only. Additionally, displaying recent transactions as well as history can assist the users in performing the same transaction with only a tap.

This is another area in which mobile money operators can improve remittances. When setting up the systems, the operators need to use simple terms and keep the procedures to the lowest number possible. An ideal mobile money service needs to be easy to use and require no special skill or expertise from the user.

Diversify Devices

Various people own different kinds of mobile phones that range from feature phones through to smartphones. Remittance would be a lot smarter if every one of them had access to mobile money services regardless of the type of mobile phone they own. Providing services that can be accessed through both feature phones and smartphones is a great way of enhancing remittance. The mobile money operators should consider using programs such USSDs or STKs which are supported by both smartphones and feature phones. They should also develop cross-platform applications that are supported by the various Operating Systems such as Android, iOS and Blackberry. This not only broadens access to the services but also ensures convenience of the users.

The above mentioned are just a few of the measures that can be taken by mobile money operators to make remittance smarter. With these in place, users will be able to acquire exceptional services that meet and satisfy their remittance needs.


About TerraPay: TerraPay is the world’s first mobile payments switch – a B2B transaction processing, clearing and settlement service for mobile wallets. Our best-in-class technology serves as the interoperability engine that enables our partners’ customers to send and receive real-time transactions across diverse payment instruments, platforms and regions.

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