The success of mobile money services like Safaricom’s m-Pesa is forcing big name banks to look again at offering mobile access to their services, Liudvikas Andriulis, CMO at mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) Effortel, said.
Speaking to Mobile World Live ahead of the recent Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Andriulis (pictured) said traditional banks are “under siege everywhere in the world” due to the “march of mobile money services run by aggressive, innovative mobile operators”.
Andriulis said by the end of 2016, the number of mobile money accounts had surpassed the number of bank accounts in Sub-Saharan Africa. A total of $22 billion was “transferred between users in December 2016 alone, and top players alone reaped in more than $1 billion in profits in 2016,” he noted.
Globally, mobile money users totalled 500 million by end-2016, Andriulis added.
Effortel’s CMO predicted disruption in the traditional banking model will only increase due to the launch of mobile money services by Apple, Samsung, Facebook and WeChat. “The fight in the developed world is all about user experience, and to counter that banks will need to rethink processes, technologies, products and marketing to stay relevant,” Andriulis explained.
Traditional banks can end the siege by launching their own MVNO services, Andriulis said: “Mobile will be one of the cornerstones of those new strategies – it will generate the much needed revenues to add to eroding retail banking profits, will enable banks to upsell better, and build stronger relationships with consumers.”
Mobile services are “an incredibly efficient and cost effective way to grow the number of bank account holders,” because each SIM card sold is already linked to a bank.