Mobile money has been growing rapidly over the past few years, and with 255 services in 89 countries, is now available in 61 percent of developing markets, according to a new report from the GSMA. The organization Monday released its its fourth annual “Mobile Financial Services State of the Industry Report” at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
Mobile network operators have led in the provision of 149 of mobile money services, demonstrating the important and growing role they are playing in the development of the mobile money industry, according to the report. In sub-Saharan Africa, the birthplace of mobile money, over 50 percent of all MNOs have already launched a mobile money service and, by December 2014, 23 percent of all mobile connections there were linked with a mobile money account.
In 75 percent of the markets where mobile money is available, agent outlets outnumber bank branches, and in 25 markets, there are more than 10 times as many mobile money agents as bank branches, according to the report. The number of active mobile money users continues to grow rapidly year-on-year, with more than 100 million accounts active as of December 2014, compared to 73 million in December 2013, an increase of 41 percent. Half of all new mobile money launches took place outside of sub-Saharan Africa; for instance, in Latin America and the Caribbean, the number of active accounts increased by 50 percent over the year, demonstrating the significant traction that mobile money is gaining globally.