LIVE FROM AMDOCS AMERICAS SUMMIT, ORLANDO: Operators should “leverage their assets” – such as relations with other carriers worldwide, as well as huge amounts of data collected about consumer behaviour – to offer mobile financial services, according to Jonathan Kaftzan, director – mobile financial services, marketing, at Amdocs.
With the mobile money market predicted to be worth $2.8 trillion by 2020, Kaftzan believes there are three areas of opportunities,: international air time transfer, international money transfer and international bill payments.
Of course, operators are already involved in the mobile money business. Millicom, MTN, Orange, Vodacom and, most famously, Safaricom are among those who have built up significant businesses in this area. The most popular service is money transfer between subscribers, mainly domestically although some interoperability deals have been signed for international transfer.
However, Amdocs argues there are other opportunities for operators in the international business. Air time transfer is the simplest, as users are transferring air time rather than actual cash, which is easier and around which there is less regulation.
Remittance still seems to be where the biggest opportunity may lie though, not least because $440 billion is sent from developed to developing markets every year.
Juniper Research studied 3,000 end users in seven corridors (including US-Mexico, UK-Nigeria and Germany-Turkey) and found 82 per cent of respondents had problems with their money transfer operators, with 50 per cent saying costs were too high.
What’s more, 83 per cent expressed strong willingness to engage with the mobile channel as a means of sending money internationally.
41 per cent of those willing to use mobile international remittances would pay up to $4 per transaction for the service, and an additional 21 per cent were prepared to pay up to $5, the survey revealed.
According to Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper, “a mobile channel offering, suitably priced and marketed, could have a substantial disruptive effect.”
Kaftzan added that millennials in particular have disrupted the traditional banking model. Since their whole life revolves around smartphones, going to a bank for them “is unheard of”, he argued. Added to this are factors like the ubiquity of mobile, the need for financial inclusion and a growing middle class.