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Blog Posts by Linda Pintro

Banking on your phone

by Linda Pintro, Senior Legal Advisor, International Bureau
October 12, 2010 - 11:35 AM

(Part of the ongoing WISENET Series)

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:243:height=61,width=70]]It should come as no surprise that “mobile money” has taken off in the developing world because the need for it there is massive, and the opportunity it presents for network operators and banks is also huge.  The term “mobile money” includes all monetary transactions done through a mobile phone.  When I talk about mobile money in the developing countries, I am not talking about the advanced services in which you can wave your telephone at the vending machine for contactless payment of your candy bar.  For the most part I’m talking basic services like getting loans and paying bills.  This basic mobile banking is forecast to generate $5 billion in fees by 2012.  In Africa, for example, approximately 80% of the people have no or very little access to banking services, but they are not alone in being “unbanked” or “under-banked.” There are a number of reasons why people are unbanked.  They may not have one or more basic things that a bank may require to open a bank account:  an ID card, permanent address, a job.  In some cases, they may have all that is required but simply not live near a bank branch.  Because most financial transactions in the developing world take place at the corner “mom and pop stores,” mobile money services allow these small shops to act like branches.  Although they may not offer you a free toaster for signing up for banking services, these convenience stores are getting the job done.  Let me tell you how in my next few blog posts.

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Trading in your wallet for your phone

October 5, 2010 - 04:43 PM

(Part of the ongoing WISENET Series)

If you can't remember the last time you were without your cell phone, but you can remember your embarrassment when you forgot your wallet, you're a good candidate for a mobile wallet. What's a mobile wallet and where can you get one? Well, get in line. While all over Japan and Korea, people are waving their telephones over reader pads to pay for everything that you could pay for with cash, checks, or credit cards, we in the U.S. are pretty much still waiting. Even in the developing world mobile banking is allowing cash to travel as quickly as a text message to pay for all kinds of things. By now you've guessed that mobile banking is intended to replace your wallet with your cell phone (which for those of us who are trying to downsize our purses is reason enough to consider the option). For mobile payments to safely and securely catch on in the U.S., consumers, banks, merchants, and carriers must work together. I'll be blogging on this subject for a bit, so tune in and join in the discussion, as I look forward to learning from you as well.

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