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International Mobile Money Transfer Market Upside

We're seeing a lot of new investment in Fintech start-up companies, and for good reason -- money transfers and mobile payments are a huge upside opportunity. In 2015, international remittances totaled $582 billion, with approximately $440 billion remitted to developing countries.

Besides, the value of domestic money transfers are forecast to reach $520 billion in mobile transactions by 2018 -- that's up nearly 200 percent from an estimated $178 billion last year.


Money Transfer Market Development

Typically, person to person (P2P) domestic transfers show higher usage in developing markets -- including M-Pesa, Airtel Money, Orange Money and MTN Mobile Money -- supplemented by users making social transfers in developed markets via services such as Venmo and WeChat.

However, according to the Juniper assessment, the bulk of transfer activity is currently occurring via WeChat and Alipay within China, with growth fostered by ‘red envelope’ promotions at the Lunar New Year.

Moreover, Juniper analysts believe that over-regulation continues to be a key inhibitor in the licensing process for mobile money services.

"This can be complex, both in terms of the number and nature of licences that are required by service providers. Additionally, the services which the national government (often via its central bank) will permit a service provider to offer vary significantly," said Nitin Bhas, head of research at Juniper Research.

In some local markets, regulations for mobile money transfer may simply not have been defined, or may be in the process of being developed and then applied retrospectively.

Furthermore, existing rules may stipulate that only legacy financial institutions may possess money licences, thereby inhibiting the opportunity for traditional mobile network operators.

Perhaps this is one reason why we're seeing more banking organizations announce their plans for blockchain and open hyperledger pilot projects. New mobile banking apps could disrupt this market.

Other key findings for the market study include:
  • In 2015, Africa & Middle East had 235 million registered mobile money users, representing the largest share of the global market.
  • International remittances via mobile will exceed $25 billion by 2018, driven by higher value mobile transactions.

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