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The Enigma of Mobile Money Systems


  • Judith MARISCAL

    (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas)

  • Ernesto M. FLORES-ROUX

    (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas)


In this paper we argue that the success of mobile banking models represents an enigma in terms of their replicability to other countries. These models offer the opportunity to diminish the financial exclusion suffered by the poor by offering access to credit, savings, and transfers, which are key tools capable of transforming the livelihoods of the poor as well as the efficiency of the market. We show that mobile phones need a complete ecosystem that supports its application to a functioning mobile banking service. The aim of this paper is to contribute to existing knowledge of mobile money across the value chain by providing insight into the mechanisms of m-money and the value propositions within the business of m-banking. We develop a taxonomy of the key drivers of the business model to help assess the replicability of these models in other countries. We focus on models developed in Kenya, the Philippines, and Brazil, and explore if some of the conditions present in these models are lacking for a widespread adoption in other. We conclude, however, that there appears to be no set of clearly identifiable variables that serve as a basis for success and that those necessary conditions for the replication of m-banking models identified by the existing literature to other countries around the world do not guarantee results. Moreover, we find that some of these conditions are not present in countries where m-banking models have been successful.

Suggested Citation

  • Judith MARISCAL & Ernesto M. FLORES-ROUX, 2010. "The Enigma of Mobile Money Systems," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(79), pages 41-62, 3rd quart.
  • Handle: RePEc:idt:journl:cs7903

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thompson, Herbert Jr. & Garbacz, Christopher, 2007. "Mobile, fixed line and Internet service effects on global productive efficiency," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 189-214, June.
    2. Ignacio Mas, 2009. "The Economics of Branchless Banking," Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, MIT Press, vol. 4(2), pages 57-75, April.
    3. Simeon Djankov & Oliver Hart & Caralee McLiesh & Andrei Shleifer, 2008. "Debt Enforcement around the World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1105-1149, December.
    4. Robert Jensen, 2007. "The Digital Provide: Information (Technology), Market Performance, and Welfare in the South Indian Fisheries Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 879-924.
    5. Philippe Aghion & Even Caroli & Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa, 1998. "Uncovering some causal relationships between inequality and economic growth," IFS Working Papers W98/02, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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    More about this item


    M-banking; financial inclusion; mobile applications; mobile opportunities; developing countries.;

    JEL classification:

    • O00 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - General - - - General


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