100 million people tipped to make mobile money transfers

1 Oct 2008

In excess of 100 million users globally will use their mobile phones to make international money transfers by 2013, an analyst claims.

These cross-border mobile money transfers are currently in their infancy, but are expected to gain traction over the next two to three years, especially on migration routes such as Philippines/Middle East and Mexico/USA, said Juniper Research.

The report found that there is a significant opportunity for mobile money transfer service providers and vendors, for both national services between mobile users in a single country and internationally.

The study explores how mobile money transfer will transform the ability of the ‘underbanked’ population and migrant workers to make remittances, using their mobile phones as mobile wallets.

“The vast increase in migrant workers globally has fuelled the number of remittances being sent home to friends and families regularly,” explained report author, Howard Wilcox.

“The mobile phone will become a vital enabler in developing countries because often many more people have phones than have bank accounts. The GSM Association Mobile Money Transfer global initiative emphasises the importance that is attached to this across the mobile industry as a whole,” Wilcox said.

Mobile international transfers are forecast to grow in frequency as users become more accustomed to the process, exceeding one per month by 2013 on average globally.

The opportunity for companies providing national and international money transfer services is forecast to exceed US$5bn by 2013.

The top three regions – western Europe, North America and Africa and the Middle East – will represent over 75pc of the global international mobile money transfer gross transaction value by 2013.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years