Latest Technology Watch report: The Mobile Money Revolution

The latest ITU-T Technology Watch report charts the rise of mobile money, illustrating the importance of global standards in supporting recent advances in mobile payments enabled by near field communication (NFC) and in fortifying mobile money’s inroads into enhancing financial inclusion in developing countries.

Just 15 years ago the mobile phone was used almost exclusively to make calls, send texts and play simple games. Mobile phones today access the Internet, make video calls, take photos, find your location on a map, purchase tickets for public transport, and provide electronic banking services. Innovation in financial services, mobile technology and NFC continues to expand these applications and our ever-present mobile devices are fast evolving into substitutes for wallets and bank accounts, transforming the way we transfer money and pay for goods and services.

The report is published in two parts, the first focused on NFC-enabled mobile payments and the second on mobile money’s game-changing impacts in developing countries. Read or download the full report here.

Part 1 analyses innovations in ‘tap and go’ NFC mobile payments and their likely impact on future standardization activities. A mobile device’s electronic account or “mobile wallet” serves to replace deposit accounts, credit accounts, loyalty accounts, merchant accounts, gift cards and coupons. In developed countries the mobile wallet is also playing a role as a container for different currencies and bank accounts.

Part 2 considers the innovations driving mobile money transfer apps in developing countries. Globally, more than 2.5 billion adults do not have access to a formal bank account and mobile money is thus seen as a crucial means through which to tackle the low levels of financial inclusion that continue to pose a barrier to socio-economic development in emerging economies. In keeping with mobile money’s importance in the transfer of money between migrant labourers and their dependents, the report also reviews the technical standards working behind the scenes to ensure the security of mobile money transfer services.

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