Key FindingsAwareness of mobile money is high The Visa study found there is high awareness of mobile money services and capabilities among consumers in developing economies. Across the six countries surveyed, average awareness stood at 56% and three countries stood out in particular: In Ghana, awareness was at 93% with MTN identified as the most known mobile money provider; in Pakistan 89% of the public are mobile money aware and easyPaisa is the most recognized brand; and 53% of consumers in Bangladesh were aware of mobile money and identified bKash as the leading brand. Consumers have complex, sophisticated financial services needs While many survey participants did not have a formal financial account, several examples of complex and sophisticated money management systems emerged across the six markets. Using a range of techniques, the majority of respondents shared how they set money aside for education, healthcare, emergencies and life events. The majority of consumers surveyed intend to use mobile money to send money to family members (81%), pay utility bills (56%) and save money for their family (52%). Preventing theft, ability to quickly send money drives adoption The primary driver and reason to adopt mobile financial services, according to the study, is not to establish formal savings, but rather the need to protect funds from theft and the ability to more easily send funds, pay bills, school fees, etc. Across the six countries, 80% of respondents cited “safety of not having to carry around a lot of cash” as the primary perceived benefit of mobile money, while 63% of respondents listed “speed of getting money to family members living far away” as the second most important benefit. Ease of use, trust and lack of interoperability are barriers to adoption Across the countries where surveys took place, respondents cited ease of use (64%), lack of trust in mobile money providers and agents (55%), and lack of interoperability with other mobile money services (28%), as primary barriers to adoption.
In addition, lack of accessibility to mobile money agents, mobile network reliability, communication and education appear to be major barriers, preventing activation and usage of mobile money accounts.Best Practices Listen to Your Customers The results of Visa’s study suggest that fine tuning how a mobile money operator markets its service can have an impact on consumers’ desire to adopt such a service. For example, the study found that “safe keeping” rather than “saving” money is a primary driver for why consumers in developing countries are interested in using mobile money services. This suggests that mobile money providers should invest in additional research to better understand their customers’ needs, tailor information, education and marketing efforts to the needs of consumers and mobile money agents, and adopt local terminology. “One key learning from this study could be summarized as ‘it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,’” said Gavin Krugel, Head of Emerging Market Customer Strategy and Market Activation, Visa Inc. “This single insight has massive implications for the vernacular used in mobile money menu structures, the education of mobile money agents and consumers, and creation of mass market advertising.” Ensure mobile money services are easy to use and offer a transparent fee structure Ease of use was listed as the biggest barrier to adoption by survey respondents (64%). Consumers, merchants, and agents alike also cited the importance of offering a clear pricing structure as a key need of a mobile money program. Individuals are price sensitive and evaluate alternative options meticulously. For example, the cost of calls was the primary reason for choosing a mobile network operator in five of the six markets surveyed. Build an extensive mobile money agent network Not having prevalent accessibility to mobile money agents is ranked as a key barrier to the adoption of mobile money. In order to drive adoption, cash and customer service will need to be readily accessible to meet expectations. 54% of consumers cited quick and easy access to cash as a key benefit of mobile money.
The Visa Mobile Money study was conducted February through August 2012. Visa surveyed nearly 2,500 individuals in six countries and 15 cities through a combination of field surveys, in-depth in-person interviews, and focus groups with men and women ages 18 to 44 years of age. Respondents had to own a mobile phone. The study included both in-depth qualitative and quantitative research on money management needs, habits and practices as well as factors that need to be addressed for the successful adoption of mobile money services. Particular focus was placed on understanding the needs of unbanked consumers as well as the needs of merchants and agents who will be offering mobile money in both urban and rural areas within these markets.About Visa Inc. Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.