This post on a recent report on Interoperability provides insights on why interoperability might be important, how we should think about it from a policy and market development perspective and how it should be measured, especially as it relates to financial inclusion.
In our work on interoperability, we find that there are some questions that we are unable to adequately address at the platform and agent levels alone. For instance, the opening of USSD gateways by mobile operators may allow customers of one operator to access services of another operator without either platform interconnection or agent sharing.
This is the third post in our series on interoperability and related issues in branchless banking and mobile money. Read the first post that presented the overall framework for the discussion and the second post that looked at the interconnection of mobile money platforms. Today, we discuss interoperability at the agent level as it relates to agent exclusivity. We include agent exclusivity in the topic of interoperability because it raises many of the same issues as platform interoperability.
Platform-level interconnection is what most people have in mind when they think of interoperability in branchless banking. When we speak of interoperable platforms, we are referring to platforms that permit the transfer of funds from one mobile account to the mobile account of another service provider.
At the end of the day, we suspect interoperable systems will accelerate financial inclusion by allowing customers to use the infrastructure of multiple service providers to access their accounts. The question is how best do we get there?