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Mobile Money: Communication, Consumption and Change in the Payments Space


  • Bill Maurer


This article explores the emerging field of ‘mobile money’: mobile phone-enabled systems for value transfer and storage, primarily in the developing world, which are heralded as signal interventions in the effort to broaden financial inclusion and bank the ‘unbanked.’ Focusing on the stories that circulate in the emergent network of expertise that is calling ‘mobile money’ into being, it discusses how economic techniques and social narratives about markets -- specifically, narratives about the opportunities for profit and financial inclusion in the ‘payments space’ -- format a consumer market for mobile money. Furthermore, it asks whether end-users' repurposing of mobile money -- and the use of airtime as currency -- heralds a new means of exchange or store of value, potentially remaking money in the process.

Suggested Citation

  • Bill Maurer, 2011. "Mobile Money: Communication, Consumption and Change in the Payments Space," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(5), pages 589-604, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:48:y:2012:i:5:p:589-604
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2011.621944

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