Lack of Interoperability Hurting Mobile Money Market

A lack of interoperability is harming the mobile money market, with only ten operations reaching success out of the 150 launched in the past few years, according to Virginie Bonnot, mobile financial service sales director for Southern and Central Europe at Oberthur Technologies.

Bonnot was speaking at the 2014 Mobile Money and Digital Payments conference, which kicked off yesterday in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“There is a lack of interoperability. Today MNOs [mobile network operators] and banks have their own wallets,” Bonnot said.

She said there is a need for interconnections between wallets for mobile money initiatives to be successful.

HumanIPO reported earlier this month nine high profile telecoms firms had agreed to work together to accelerate the implementation of interoperable mobile money services across Africa and the Middle East regions.

The GSM Association (GSMA) announced Bharti Airtel, Etisalat Group, Millicom, MTN Group, Ooredoo Group, Orange, STC Group, Vodafone Group and Zain Group had entered into an agreement, with the nine companies accounting for 582 million mobile connections across 48 countries in Africa and the Middle East.

“This is definitely one of the biggest issues today,” Bonnot said.

According to Bonnot, despite the relative lack of achievement, the biggest success stories have come from Africa.

“Africa has seen one of the greatest success stories in mobile money,” she said.

She said, along with interoperability, financial services offered as a result of mobile money need to be accompanied by value-added services, including couponing and customer rewards.

Originally Published on Human IPO.