A new generation of global citizens wants easy, barrier-free access to money, Anne Lise Kjaer writes
Kjaer argues inspiration on a mobile money future can be found in Africa
Mobile money may become our springboard to achieving a more inclusive and equitable society, she says
Financial transactions have always been at the heart of our society, but growing smartphone and Internet penetration are inspiring new, disruptive approaches.
What we are witnessing is nothing less than a complete reappraisal of the fundamental principles that underpin business – and that are set to transform the future.
Here are five ways money will change in the future.
The four ‘P’ economic model
Seismic events, including technological innovation, lead to radical behavior shifts – but our belief systems are just as influential.
At present, we are witnessing a “me culture” shifting towards a “we” mindset of collaboration – exemplified by micro banking and crowd funding – with mobile technology being the great enabler.
This has impacted commercial structures across the world and leaders now look to new economic models, motivated not only by P for profit, but also P for People, Planet and Purpose; welcome to a reality where a 4P bottom line will become the norm.
New alternative currencies
Exponential growth in technologies is inspiring disruptive business models in most sectors, and finance is no exception.
Already challenged by declining trust, traditional “bricks and mortar” monetary institutions are now joined by a new wave of alternative and open-source ways of managing money.
The Bitcoin is an example of digital technology in action – a global, decentralized currency without physical borders, national sovereignty or middlemen – and similar P2P (person to person) models will undoubtedly increase in the future.
Equally interesting is the rise of local currencies, such as the Brixton and Bristol pounds in the UK, created to encourage trade and strengthen both local community and economy – both operate largely via mobile.
Financial evolution and social mobility
Trading methods for goods and services are constantly evolving – from gold to coins to paper to credit cards and now mobile-enabled transactions. Within western economies, uptake of mobile payment technology has been slow, in part because of consumer trust on security/fraud issues, but also barriers to entry in this market.
Inspiration on where the future is unfolding is to be found in Africa – where a substantial unbanked population and a growing mobile youth present enormous potential for financial services innovation and financial inclusion.
In several African countries, mobile payments have replaced credit cards and mobile services like Esoko now operates in over 15 nations to convey market data and ensure fair commodity trading among farmers.
Now the undisputed leader in mobile money, Africa accounted for 15 of the top 20 countries globally in 2013, but in India this trend is quickening with MoneyOnMobile and Easypaisa gaining market influence.