By Emeka Aginam
While the ongoing 2016 Mobile World Congress, MWC, is in full swing in Barcelona, Spain, the GSMA yesterday announced that the number of active mobile money accounts worldwide now exceeded 130 million, with more than 100 million new registered users added in 2015.
According to the latest report on the state of financial services worldwide, there were 1 billion mobile money transactions in December 2015 at around 33 million per day which is more than double the amount PayPal processed globally.
With 411 million registered mobile money users during the time in question, according the GSMA report, there were at least 19 countries with more mobile oney accounts than bank accounts
According the report, with 30 services with more than 1 million active users, only 5 of those services actually have more than 5 million active users.
The report also added that there were 271 active services in 93 countries. The figure the report said is more than the number of officially recognised currencies in the world which is 180.
Similarly, 1 in 3 mobile connections in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the report were linked to a mobile money account
Even more impressive, according to the GSMA's 2015 State of the Industry Report on Mobile Financial Services, mobile money penetration in East Africa exceeds 50 per cent.
Speaking on the development, Alix Murphy, Senior Mobile Analyst at WorldRemit, said: "The rapid international expansion of Mobile Money services in 2015 demonstrates the increasingly crucial role that these services are playing in cross-border remittances. By connecting directly to mobile wallets, we are making sending money as easy as sending an instant message.
"Many of our Mobile Money partners are thinking creatively about building a broad ecosystem of Mobile Money as a local payments platform. Cash is increasingly becoming obsolete as emerging markets sprint ahead in the adoption of mobile payments."
In addition to offering airtime topup, bank deposit and cash pick-up options, WorldRemit is the leading provider of instant transfers to Mobile Money wallets.
Meanwhile, 100,000 transfers on WorldRemit are sent to Mobile Money accounts every month, equivalent to 25% of all money transfers.
However, more than 50% of all transfers to Africa are currently received as Mobile Money.
Accordingly, 90 million individual Mobile Money accounts can be reached as part of WorldRemit's network of partnerships with leading Mobile Money providers like MTN, Tigo, or Econet.
Similarly, according to the report, 29 Mobile Money services in 21 countries across Europe, Africa and Asia are connected to WorldRemit literally from Armenia to Zimbabwe.