To update my earlier piece on the Best Blogs and Websites on Mobile Money in the Developing World, I am including some additional sites. One of these sites was recently launched by the Better Than Cash Alliance and two other sites are from key implementors in the field: MicroSave and ShoreBank International. The other useful site is from Mobile-Financial.com, an online mobile financial services community portal that provides the latest industry news.
The Better Than Cash Alliance was recently launched by founding members: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, the Ford Foundation, the Omidyar Network, USAID, UNCDF, and VISA.
The site promotes the vision of accelerating the shift from cash to electronic payments in order to improve the livelihoods of low-income people by advancing financial inclusion, enabling people to build savings and accelerating the growth of emerging economies.
The overall mission of the new alliance is to:
- Raise the awareness of the benefits of replacing physical cash with electronic payments, for governments, the development community and the private sector.
- Share technical expertise and examples to demonstrate how to implement electronic-payment solutions so that electronic payments are profitable and sustainable while ensuring greater financial inclusion and savings opportunities for those living in poverty.
The website has some good examples of the key reasons for shifting from cash to electronic payments including cost savings, greater transparency, speed & security, enhanced financial inclusion, and new market access and economic development. There are several good case studies on this site and I expect these will be updated over time as more governments, donor organizations, and the private sector come on board to support the alliance and share their experiences from the field.
MicroSave has an excellent collection of briefing and policy notes on various aspects of mobile money, mobile banking, and overall digital financial services with updates from several practitioners in the field. MicroSave was established in Africa in 1998 and quickly emerged as one of the world’s leading technical assistance, training and technical resource centers. MicroSave’s studies are referenced to in much of the leading literature on microfinance and its toolkits are used across the globe by microfinance organisations seeking to professionalise their products/services, management and systems. They were one of the early pioneers in the field on electronic banking for the poor and also inspired most of my work and interest in this field back in 2004.
I highly recommend this site and the short two page briefing notes on various aspects of mobile financial services including how to best plan the deployment of mobile money services, working with agents, and understanding the value proposition for banks, businesses, third-party agents, and, most importantly, clients.
The focus of the “Banking Beyond Branches” website is to analyze the opportunities to move financial services outside of the simple brick-and-mortar infrastructure of traditional banks and microfinance institutions. The site also promotes the many uses of mobile money and the concept that it must move beyond payments. Overall this practitioner-based website promotes viewpoints, experiences from the field, and analysis that are very useful and informative.
Mobile-Financial.com features blog articles, news, and the latest resources covering: Mobile Banking, Mobile Money Transfers, Mobile Payments, Mobile Marketing, and Mobile Commerce. While the site does aggregate information from more developed markets and countries, it does cover the developing world and is a good source of information on the latest developments and trends.