Mobile money services generated $2.4 billion in direct revenue during 2017, as the industry processed $1 billion worth of transactions per day, the GSMA said.

The Association’s annual State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money revealed there were more than 690 million registered accounts across 90 countries by the end of last year – a 25 per cent year-on-year increase in users.

Whereas in its previous six annual reports the sector’s strongest growth had been noted in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia led the charge for the first time in 2017 with 47 per cent year-on-year growth. The report revealed the region now accounts for around 34 per cent of the world’s registered accounts.

The report uncovered several other growing trends including acceleration in bank-to-wallet interoperability and renewed efforts by companies and governments to expand the service to the most vulnerable members of their societies.

GSMA director general Mats Granryd said mobile money provided a lifeline for troubled communities, with digital humanitarian cash transfers and affordable international remittances giving refugees safe and convenient ways to meet pressing needs.

“We are also continuing to focus on narrowing the gender gap in access to financial services through programmes such as the Connected Women Commitment Initiative,” he added.