Monday, November 28, 2011

Evaluating The Social Impacts of Mobile Money Services in Cambodia

By Jeff Fang

Between March to September 2011, I collaborated with WING Money Cambodia (WING), a leading mobile money services provider in Cambodia, on a research project to evaluate the social impacts of mobile money services in Cambodia.

Currently,WING allows any customers (individuals and businesses) to transfer, deposit (cash-in) and withdraw (cash-out) money between each other and with anyone in Cambodia as well as top up their pre-paid mobile phone credits with their SMS-enabled mobile phones at low cost. Payment transactions like sending/receiving money, phone top-up can be done from any mobile phone, and secured by a personal 4-digits pin code. There is no monthly fee charged for holding a mobile wallet with WING and all the money are safely stored in a regulated bank.

I am both thankful and privileged to be part of this research collaboration with WING. It has been an exciting journey for me to travel to different rural towns to interact with different mobile money community sales representatives, customers and merchants/agents to find out first-hand how WING’s mobile money services has really made positive changes to their small business activities, local cultural norms, social well-being and financial management habits.

Below are 2 customer profile stories which are shortened versions of more detailed interview sessions conducted as part of the current research project collaboration between RMIT University Australia and WING. The names have been left out for privacy concerns.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

IMTFI PANEL at 54th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association

By IMTFI researcher Vivian Dzokoto

Since 1957, the African Studies Association (ASA) has converged individuals with academic and professional interests in Africa, and served as the leading North American organization promoting the academic study of that continent. This year, IMTFI sponsored a panel at ASA’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. In line with the conference theme “50 Years of African Liberation,” the IMTFI panel was titled “Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion in Africa: What We Know After 50 Years of Liberation.”



Out of the conference’s 214 panels, the IMTFI-sponsored panel was the only one that focused on contemporary financial services and the poor. The panel highlighted major findings from 4 of 20 research projects focusing on various countries in Africa that IMTFI has funded over the past 3 years. Presenters examined pathways and obstacles to achieving financial inclusion for the poor in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Funny Money Roundup

While IMTFI remains firmly focused on the intersection of novel and not-so-novel technologies and monetary practices (payments, value storage, and so on)—and, in particular, on the world of mobile money—we are also interested in money, finance, and the economy more generally.

As a part of our new blog, we are initiating a recurring feature that will highlight, with a list of entirely noncomprehensive and thoroughly idiosyncratic links, interesting debates, developments, and other tidbits about money from around the Internet. The goal is simply to draw some attention to the diverse worlds of money, its meanings and uses. We’re calling it the Funny Money Roundup.

If you have come across something interesting that you think we might like, send it to IMTFI research assistant Taylor Nelms at tnelms@uci.edu.

For our inaugural link list, we've got a set of stories about bitcoin, everyone's favorite crypto-currency. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nigerian Mobile Money Survey

IMTFI is pleased to be able to offer insight into Nigerian trends based on this survey of over 4000 rural and urban Nigerians from every region of the country. In light of the mobile money industry’s interest in Nigeria, and the recent issuing of licenses by the Central Bank of Nigeria to 11 mobile money businesses, we hope that the trends that we have identified here will allow for a better understanding of this important area in its own terms, not just in reference to the mobile money miracle of Kenya.

The survey revealed information including the gender and location of banked and unbanked populations, respondents' experiences with mobile money, their preferences regarding mobile channels, their preferences regarding mobile money providers and mobile money transactions, and how they anticipate using mobile money when they have access to it.

These data suggest that Nigeria is ready for mobile money, especially money transfer. Bill pay is desired by Nigerian respondents and that mobile money agents are likely to play an important role as the Nigerian mobile money system develops. They also reveal that potential clients have very mixed feelings about banks, and different kinds of worries regarding theft and fraud. Concern and confidence depend on where and who respondents are in Nigeria.

Click here to read our working paper!