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Mobile Payments Already Huge in Some Markets

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

In fact, mobile payment systems are already enormously popular in some parts of the world, but you might be surprised at where. Leading the mobile payment revolution: Kenya.

I wrote last year about the M-Pesa mobile banking and payment system, launched by network operator Safaricom in Kenya and Vodacom in Tanzania. According to Lindsey Gilpin of TechRepublic, M-Pesa now serves 17 million Kenyans, and 25 percent of the country’s gross national product flows through the system. Worldwide, Gartner estimated mobile payments to surpass $235 billion in transaction value and 245 million users last year, led by emerging markets in Africa and India.

So mobile payments are maturing fast, just not in the North America. According to a 2013 report from the U.S. Federal Reserve, just 12 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed had made a mobile payment during the previous year. Sara Angles wrote about this surprising technology lag in BusinessNewsDaily last October. Citing a global study by SAP, she noted that “the United States reported the lowest consumer demand for mobile commerce, with just 53 percent of those surveyed expressing a desire to make a purchase via mobile.”

Just 15 percent of North American consumers said they were ready to buy more with mobile devices, compared to more than 80 percent in Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Africa.

So what’s the story? Why is the United States lagging so far behind? Read More »

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Exploring the Mobile Banking Revolution in Tanzania

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

In most developed economies, people can be forgiven for taking banks for granted. After all, an ATM machine is rarely more than a couple blocks away with easy access to funds. People can easily connect with their banks online to pay bills without ever handling cash, and loans and lines of credit are readily available.

In much of the developing world, however, this infrastructure simply doesn’t exist. Thabiso Mochiko recently laid out the latest statistics on the issue at Business Day:

Read More »

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