Speak to users in the vernacular, urges survey

23 OCT 2012

LIVE FROM GSMA NFC & MOBILE MONEY SUMMIT 2012: There is a high awareness of mobile money services among users in the developing world, many of whom have complex financial needs to manage despite their lack of access to formal banking services.

Those are two of the findings from a survey conducted by Visa and Fundamo, the Visa-owned mobile money platform, that interviewed nearly 2,500 consumers, mobile money agents and merchants from six countries in the developing world.

The study also found that the primary reason among users for adopting mobile financial services is the need to keep funds secure for specific purposes such as paying bills and school fees, or transferring money safely to friends and families, rather than saving money in the formal sense.

The six countries where the survey was conducted were Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan.

In terms of awareness of mobile money, Ghana scored a 93 percent positive response among users. In Pakistan, 89 percent of the public recognised the concept. Overall, average awareness stood at 56 percent across the six countries.

Despite lacking access to traditional banking, unbanked users still have complex financial needs to juggle. While they do not have an appetite for savings, users do accumulate funds for specific purposes such as paying for healthcare or school fees. Mobile money providers should better cater for these requirements.

“One of the key things [from the survey] is to adapt mobile money for a local vernacular that recognises users’ needs,” says Gavin Krugel, Fundamo’s chief customer strategy officer, in an interview with the event's Show Daily.

For instance, mobile money menus are fairly generic in their use of standard phrases such as “Pay” and “Send”. Similar phraseology is used in marketing campaigns. An alternative would be to emphasise particular user requirements, such as “pay money to family”, or “pay school fees”.

In terms of barriers to adoption, users pointed to a number of factors such as services that are not easy to use, the lack of trust in mobile money providers and agents, and the absence of interoperability between services.


Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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