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Mobile Money Interoperability: A Step on the Path of Global Cross Border Commerce Growth

Recently, I came across an article that describes how three of the mobile money platforms in Tanzania have signed a partnership that will allow for inter-network transfers.  This type of cross platform connection will allow for diaspora networks to more easily conduct transfers between family members. Furthermore, this will allow for increased business trade around the country.

The bigger picture is the expansion of interoperability across the borders of other African nations and further, globally. This would enable a growth in global payments and, in parallel, growth in cross border commerce.

Years ago, family members who moved abroad engaged in transactions with other family members in two ways. Funds were sent home primarily via Western Union or via informal money transfer networks. Physical commerce transactions occurred via trips home where family members would transport items back in order to sell and distribute to family members.

In today’s economy, mobile money interoperability would allow for family members to send money electronically regardless of platforms and also allow for the purchase/delivery of physical items on local e-commerce sites. This advancement will greatly enhance the level of cross border trade via e-commerce in those countries.

Global connectivity really only works when platforms are open and interoperable versus closed systems. Tanzania is a first step towards what I hope is greater connectivity and more enriched lives.

Link to original article >>

http://www.mobileworldlive.com/operators-sign-first-interoperability-agreement-mobile-money-africa

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Insufficient Identity Verification Troubling Mobile Payment Development in Nigeria

Helix Institute of Digital Finance has recently published a report on mobile payment in Nigeria. Based on interviews with mobile payment agents, the research points out that aside from regulatory uncertainty — which led mobile payment providers in the country to speculate about the rules instead of fully engaging in expanding business — insufficient identity verification is a main problem that hindered the development of mobile money in the country.

According to the report, most of the mobile payment customers in Nigeria still remain at the lowest identity registration level, which requires only a name and a phone number to activate, but limits the amount per spending to as low as 18.5 USD. This results in the frequent need to divide the bill in order to complete a transaction, giving the agents more commission at the customers’ cost. On the other hand, the information gathered in low-tier, sim-card based registrations is often not properly checked in an identity verification system, leaving the security of transactions at risk. Overall, the current insufficiency in identity verification is bringing down the quality of mobile payment service in Nigeria, and preventing broader business development.

In order to tackle this problem, efforts from various directions are called for. Agents — who are the first point of contact for end users and are carrying the brand for providers — need training and permission to initiate higher levels of identity registration. This requires combined work from both the providers and regulators. Efforts also need to be made to motivate customers to go for higher tiers of identity verification and increase their spending limit. On this point, marketing campaigns on both electronic media and point of sale should be utilized to give people more exposure to mobile money, as the general awareness among Nigerian public still remains at a low level.

To read the full report, please go to: http://www.helix-institute.com/data-and-insights/agent-network-accelerator-survey-nigeria-country-report-2014