Mobile money operators (MNOs) have a significant role to play in developing a safer and responsible mobile money industry. Recognizing this, the GSMA’s regulatory working group for mobile money launched a consultative process two years ago with the ultimate goal of developing a standardized set of principles that would guide the provision of mobile money services. Strengthening operational risk management in key areas such as fraud mitigation was key to this discussion. This collaboration between MNOs was also critical to assuring customers receive fair treatment and that they receive the information they need to make informed decisions.
On November 6, these discussions culminated in a newly launched GSMA Code of Conduct for Mobile Money Providers. Already CEOs from Airtel, Avea, Axiata, Etisalat, Millicom, MTN, Ooredoo, Orange, Telenor, Vodafone and Zain have endorsed the Code to help ensure their customers’ experiences are central to the responsible development of mobile money platforms. These leading operator groups represent 82 deployments in 51 countries, accounting for 60% of the 251 live mobile money services and over 80% of total active mobile money customers according to GSMA estimates.
Photo Credit: Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion, Flickr
The primary beneficiaries of this Code are mobile money customers, and a number of the principles directly address key customer concerns, including:
- Safeguarding customer funds;
- Training and monitoring those who interact with customers (whether staff, agents, or other third parties);
- Ensuring the reliability and security of the network and system used to process their transactions;
- Ensuring proper disclosure so that customers can make informed decisions;
- Providing effective mechanisms for addressing customer complaints; and
- Protecting customer data.
Beyond adherence to these principles, providers that have endorsed the Code will work with GSMA and with selected technical experts to develop implementation tools and a technical assistance program. These will assist both the groups and the country-level providers to build all the necessary policies and to monitor their effectiveness, first through a self-certification process and later through a robust certification regime.
In parallel with the principles, mobile money customers stand to reap major benefits from the GSMA’s Mobile Money Interoperability (MMI) program launched earlier this year. This initiative aims to achieve interoperability of mobile money services and advance the digital ecosystem by facilitating the integration of third parties “riding the rails” of mobile money. For providers involved with MMI, the Code will play a fundamental role by building confidence in partnerships. For consumers, this will mean convenience, greater choice, and improved service options.
By putting the customer experience at the center, this harmonized approach has the potential to strengthen the whole digital financial ecosystem.