Now you can add virtual petty cash to the growing list of things users will be able to access with their mobiles over the next few years as service providers cast around for money-making apps to prop up sagging walled garden and voice revenues.
“Mobile Money Transfers” will deliver about US$5 billion dollars, says a new report from Juniper Research. It's expected to be a growth area that will have increased 10 times between 2009 and 2013 leaving carriers flush with the commissions and charges acquired every time a subscriber buys a movie ticket or a pack of smokes at the corner store, i.e. “from the gross value of money transactions made, both domestically within countries and internationally,” says Juniper.
Upwards of 60 per cent of the world’s mobile money transactions will happen in Western Europe and the Far East including China, due simply to high mobile sub penetration. Those regions will be followed by Africa and the Middle East where it will be used as a substitute for traditional banking resources.
The application will also be picked up large swaths of the population that are current “under-banked” (talk about dehumanising board-room jargon) or have no access to banks, mostly immigrant labourers who instead rely on storefront check-chasing clip-joints and costly Western Union wire transfers to move money around.
Report author, Howard Wilcox, says that mobile money transfer will change all that: using their mobile phones as mobile wallets, the under-banked will gain direct control over their finances.
"Judging from the response from users so far to services like M-PESA and SmartMoney, prospects for these services are excellent, both in developing and developed countries." says Wilcox. "For many people it has been costly and difficult for them to transfer money via existing services even to friends and family: using mobile phones solves the problem.”
One of the most prominent mobile pay services in the running to be the next mobile PayPal is 3 year old start-up Obopay, which recently got a 20 million dollar cash advance from its venture capitalists.
Other start-ups in the mobile pay sector include Paymo, TextPayMe and KushCash to name just a few. Inevitably though, many of these hopefuls will turn out to be dot-bombers once the banks themselves decide to cash in on this trend and put them out of business.
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