Weekly Review March 17-23

Safaricom Agent in Kenya

How can mobile money be used to incentivize savings? Mobile money, if executed correctly, can extend financial inclusion to include savings capabilities as well as transfer and payments.  We’re looking at some examples of that this week.

Mobile Money Savings Systems: What Do Users Think?” By Ignacio Mas on Mobile Active
In recent literature, Ignacio Mas and Colin Mayer proposed a forward payments system, wherein a user defers a payment to their own account. The payment is locked until a set date, at which time it is unlocked and available for withdrawal again. Generally, a certain level of financial education is required to save money, including how to make and maintain savings goals and exercising discipline to meet them. The Grameen Foundation’s AppLab Money researched consumer behavior regarding mobile money and savings in western Uganda. They found that users embraced the idea of “Me2Me,” forward, or deferred payments.

Watch out M-Pesa. The sudden rise of Tangaza” Interview with Oscar Ikinu by Dinfin Mulupi on How We Made it in Africa
Proclaimed to be second only to M-Pesa, Mobile Pay Limited’s mobile money transfer service Tangaza has taken off in Kenya, moving Ksh 1.31 billion in December 2011. M-Pesa’s moved Ksh 116.6 billion in the same period; Tangaza has a long way to go to catch up. Tangaza claims to have two main differentiators. First, registration requires fingerprint identification offering a high level of security for users. Second, Tangaza sees itself integrating with savings and credit-cooperatives, (SACCOs), increasing Kenyans’ access to savings opportunities using the ubiquitous mobile phone. Do you think this non-telecom oriented mobile money service provider can become a serious competitor for M-Pesa?

M-Pesa increases savings for users, says World Bank” by Geoge Ngigi on Business Daily Africa
New World Bank research suggests M-Pesa users are more likely to save than non-M-Pesa users. The World Bank’s survey found that 65% of M-Pesa users reported having some savings, while only 31% of people who do not use M-Pesa reported having savings. Although M-Pesa accounts do not pay interest (unlike M-Kesho), access to storage allows users to be more discreet and conservative with their funds.

UniBank Launches Mobile Savings Account” on GhanaWeb
Airtel Mobile Money and Star Micro Insurance Services Ltd have released a new mobile savings account, Uni-Mobile, in Ghana. Users can make deposits into uniBank accounts using their mobile phones and transfer money into e-wallets. The service is open to Airtel customers and comes as an effort to make Ghana a cashless economy by offering comprehensive financial services.

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