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A different kind of mobile wallet

If we say “mobile wallet” different names will probably spring to mind depending on where you are. In North America or Europe, Apple Pay or Android Pay’s convenient function of linking your phone to your bank card to make payments wirelessly may be the examples you think of. In China, it’ll probably be Alipay or WeChat’s payment, transfer and management apps that are the obvious examples.

But what happens when you ask people in emerging markets? And, taking it a step further, what would they say if you asked what the term means for businesses and other organisations? The answers will likely include M-Pesa and Straight2Bank Wallet. But these solutions have served a different purpose than most applications you’d associate with the term “mobile wallet”. For Jhpiego, a non-profit health organisation dedicated to improving the health of women and families are among the organisations using these solutions to have a positive impact on not just their organisation, but also staff, partners and beneficiaries:

A different kind of mobile wallet’

In emerging markets, cash is still the most common form of business-to-consumer and consumer-to-business transactions, and one of the big reasons for this is that access to traditional banking facilities remains low. Cash-dominant communities are a challenge for businesses and NGOs that want to send or receive money in a fast, secure and cost-efficient manner. That’s why mobile wallet solutions in these places are really about serving the ‘unbanked’; making secure payments, savings and money management for people without access to traditional banking facilities a reality.

The explosive growth of mobile phone users in emerging markets, has given individuals in remote locations access to financial services on their mobile phones. In fact, mobile money services are available in 85% of countries where the number of people with an account at a financial institution is less than 20% 1. In Kenya and Tanzania alone, over 23 million people use M-Pesa to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services. Which is why it made sense when Standard Chartered Bank partnered with Vodafone’s affiliates – Safaricom in Kenya and Vodacom in Tanzania – to enable its Straight2Bank Wallet solution for companies. Straight2Bank is allowing companies banking with Standard Chartered to make payments directly to individuals’ M-Pesa wallets quickly, safely and without any significant expense. And the impact of the solution can be felt throughout an organisation like, Jhpiego’s, and the wider community.

Learn more about how organisations are transacting with unbanked individuals and communities with M-Pesa and Straight2Bank Wallet.

1. World Bank, Global Financial Inclusion Database (2015), Account at a financial institution (%age 15+) [2014]. Source:

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