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Media (R)evolutions: The Mobile Wallet’s Global Popularity

Roxanne Bauer's picture

New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's

An estimated 2.5 billion people  in lower- to middle-income countries lack access to formal financial services, limiting their ability to benefit from economic opportunities and raise their income levels. Nevertheless, with more than 1 billion of these people owning a mobile phone, mobile money services, also known as mobile wallet, offer a possible solution by allowing individuals to pay for goods using a mobile phone instead of currency or credit cards. Already, there are around 220 services in 85 countries, and more continue to emerge.


According to JWT Intelligence, which developed this infographic, "the largest number of mobile money users are in Sub-Saharan Africa (52 percent of all services globally).  A significant number of people use their accounts actively (around 43 percent). By contrast, other regions may see a high number of mobile money accounts but very few active users. In the Middle East and North Africa, for instance, only roughly 5 percent of mobile money accounts are active."

The World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion Database (Global Findex) reported that three-quarters of the world’s poor lack a bank account due to poverty, costs, travel distances, and the often-burdensome requirements involved in opening an account. Less than 25% of adults earning less than $2 a day have access to an account at a formal financial institution. Being “unbanked” is linked to income inequality. However, as operators recognize this growing market, greater collaboration among financial institutions, governements and the ITC sector may lead to greater access for mobile wallet services.

Source: JWT Intelligence and for a larger image, click here