Despite a number of challenges identified by operators and experts, the industry seems to be attracting more international remittance volumes, resulting in eventual financial inclusion benefits for the poor in developing countries. The total number of live branchless banking deployments increased from 20 in 2012 to 41 in 2013. Partnerships with established Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) or Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) are driving the rapid increase in mobile-based deployments because such arrangements facilitate interoperability, offer support in regulatory compliance and provide access to a broad sender network.
The 2013 study of international remittances through branchless banking, the third in a series, found that recent trends in international remittances centered on the introduction of new and creative models – such as conducting online transfers through social media channels. These new models have potential to increase the access, affordability and transparency of remittances, but it is not yet clear whether they could and should serve as a bridge to greater financial inclusion or expanded access to other financial products for the unbanked. At the same time, transaction volumes and revenues for most existing mobile wallet models remain low.
This blog series examines some of the key findings of the 2013 research study.