Reaching the Unbanked: Thoughts from Pakistan

Mobile presents 2 primary “disruptive innovations” to the world’s second oldest profession: 1) Access/Cost to Serve and 2) Acquisition. Let me emphasize, mobile does NOT present a “silver bullet” solution to banking. Bank products must still be profitable. In emerging markets, banks have a very poor reputation at the base of the pyramid. Banks are limited in their ability to develop products which can be priced and distributed at the base of the pyramid, not just in emerging markets, but here in the US as well. Mobile banking will not solve this problem, but only allow poorly suited banking products to reach more people at a slightly lower cost. Although mobile does not significantly impact existing banking models, it may allow for the development of a “new products”, one of which is payments.

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AT&T, Verizon in Mobile Money Newco w/ Discover and FirstData

Don’t think about this as a card business, think about this as the next Google and payments are the KEY that ties together the mobile, virtual and physical world. NewCo will be to mobile advertising what Google was to online. For example, rumors are NewCo is attempting to consolidate $1-5B+ in Madison Avenue marketing spend in first year (See consumer scenario here). The MNOs are brilliant! Their collaborative efforts here are a severe threat to both banks and established payment networks. Widespread adoption of NFC will revolutionize consumer payments and may result in the next boom cycle for silicone valley. Make no mistake, NewCo will be the leader of the next great ecosystem.

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MNOs – Will RBI Disintermediate Agents?

Indian legislators should take a pragmatic look at the mobile money regulation. It will be up to consumers (ie Voters) to demand that the structures are in place to support a sound and fertile market for payment services. The economic growth and poverty imperatives greatly outweigh the justifications for RBI’s current approach.

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Mobile Money: Emerging Markets/Emerging Models

To reach the worlds poor, the advantages to an “open” system with compatibility and interoperability are clear… in the long term. In the short term, the urgency is to get something started by an entity that is motivated to invest. Regulators should consider the history of successful networks in order to balance constraints, competition and incentives to invest. Regulatory and legislative actions focused on: consumer protections, competition and financial accountability may be the most effective short term focus areas…

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Cash Replacement – Part 2

The common win-win for both mature economies and underdeveloped appears to be Cash Replacement. Cash Replacement has been the subject of thousands of reports originating from: economists, bankers, academics, non-governmental organizations. The objective of this blog is to provide a market basis for investors and small companies attempting to “quantify” the opportunity in cash replacement, specifically e-Money and non-card based schemes.

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