Earlier this year, CGAP teamed up with the GSM Association (GSMA) (a global trade association for the mobile communications industry) and McKinsey (a global management consulting firm) to measure the global market for financial services delivered via mobile phones (mobile money) in 147 developing countries. This is the first study of mobile money and the unbanked—those without access to formal financial services—estimated to be almost 4 billion worldwide.
Based on the analysis, 1 billion people do not have a bank account but do have a mobile phone. By 2012 that number will grow to 1.7 billion, making mobile phones a direct conduit to nearly half of the world’s unbanked. As many as 364 million low-income, unbanked people will use mobile money three years from now, generating US$7.8 billion in new revenues for the mobile money industry via transaction fees, improved loyalty, and more cost-efficient airtime distribution. About 120 mobile money services will be launched in developing countries in 2009.