MasterCard launches new initiative to bring mobile financial services to the developing world

Mobile Money Partnership Programme

The new initiative is called the MasterCard Mobile Money Partnership Programme and its focus is to provide financial services to the world’s underbanked through their mobile phones (view press release). MasterCard is in collaboration with platform partners Comviva, Sybase 365 and Utiba to develop the infrastructure required for mobile fund transfers, bill payments and both brick and mortar and online merchant purchases. These platform providers are using their mobile money solutions to enhance the stored value accounts (offering basic services such as mobile top-up, bill payments and P2P payments) of more than 200 telecommunication operators and banks around the world, servicing over one billion consumers.

The Mobile Money Partnership Programme’s services will offer consumers prepaid companion cards compatible at all merchants that accept MasterCard; virtual card accounts for use in conjunction with the user’s mobile money account for eCommerce payments; P2P payments between subscribers of different mobile money services; and mobile payments at merchants that do not have traditional POS acceptance. 

With about five billion mobile phone users worldwide, this programme provides powerful, smart and convenient new payment options to people through a device that’s already in the palm of their hands today,” says Mung Ki Woo, mobile group executive of MasterCard Worldwide. “Our approach is to work with all leading players in the Mobile Money ecosystem to bring the benefits of electronic payments to those who otherwise wouldn’t have access to formal financial services.”

Around half of the world’s population has a bank account (less in developing countries) whilst seven out of ten people worldwide have a mobile phone. Juniper research predicts the combined mobile payment market to reach more than $600 billion globally by 2013, double the current figure.

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