The world is ready to take on mobile wallets, with massive growth expected over the next couple of years – but it's by no means a trivial exercise to ensure they work well and securely.
The uptake of mobile wallets around the globe is predicted to grow exponentially over the next few years, reaching 1,4-billion by 2015, according to an Edgar, Dunn and Company report commissioned by the GSMA.
With such huge growth expected in the industry it is essential that organisations wishing to offer the mobile wallet solution engage the right technology partner to ensure successful deployments solutions and regulatory compliance says Hannes van Rensburg, chief executive of Fundamo.
Van Rensburg's comments come on the eve of the Mobile Money Summit, hosted by the GSMA in Cairo, where he will share the speaker platform with other industry players this week to discuss the challenges faced by the mobile wallet industry and the suggested solutions. The summit will investigate business models, the regulatory hurdles, and the development of a global cross-border infrastructure amongst other pressing issues.
"Our experience shows that to deploy and support a mobile wallet solution is not a trivial exercise," explains Van Rensburg. "It requires a complete and multi- aceted approach to ensure the business success of these projects and then of course this solution needs to conform to banking specifications and security.
"It takes not only great technology, but an experienced supplier to deliver a reliable solution. It is a crucial element for Mobile Operators to consider when selecting their supplier."
Fundamo, which has been rolling out mobile payment technology in the Europe, Middle-East and Africa regions for the last nine years, was recently chosen by the GSMA to provide the technology for the rollout of a mobile wallet pilot program which is to be offered to some 700 mobile operators.
According to research from FinMark Trust, there are 65-million unbanked people in the world; the rollout of mobile wallets is set to reduce this number significantly. Van Rensburg believes this issue to be a global social and economic priority.
A mobile wallet, the combination of a phone and branded payment card, offers a powerful proposition for Mobile Network Operators (MNO) and partner banks, leveraging the MNO's customer penetration and brand image, and the bank's stability and payment skills, to enable remote payments, person to person payments and international remittances.
A major driver for adoption and fast roll-out of mobile wallet services is international money remittances, where significant international money flows can be delivered from, and to, mobile wallets at much reduced rates. Targeting remitting communities, an MNO can capture and lock-in a well defined population, with marketing campaigns supported by community word of mouth.
Industry players, including Fundamo, which are involved in these initiatives, are working hard to ensure that these services are designed within the regulatory frameworks of each country and are currently working with global and national regulators towards that end.
"There is consensus among analysts and market experts that there is a major interest in the mobile wallet solution. In Africa and Middle East for instance, there are many examples where the adoption of mobile wallets has been successful particularly in Kenya, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo," says Van Rensburg.