Mobile money network targets Pakistan’s unbanked

An independent mobile financial services company in Pakistan is launching a new mobile money network across the country. Monet is using MFS specialist Fundamo’s platform to accelerate the delivery of convenient, secure and affordable mobile financial services to the banked and unbanked population of Pakistan.

Bank Alfalah Limited (BAFL), the sixth largest financial institution in Pakistan, and Warid Telecom Private Limited (Warid) have teamed up to launch a new mobile financial services brand on the platform. The platform will enable BAFL and Warid to jointly offer mobile and branchless banking to its existing and potential customer base.

Monet provides a managed service platform, agent management services and bill aggregation services to new financial institutions and network operators interested in entering branchless banking services with a faster time to market. The firm creates linkages with existing deployments, financial switches, channels and networks to provide a standardised offering in the market.

Despite the growth of financial services the majority of Pakistanis remain unbanked. According to the Pakistan Access to Finance Survey, only 12 percent of the population has access to formal financial services (A2FS, 2012). Conversely, mobile penetration stands at nearly 70 percent (Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, 2013). A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group estimates that 35 percent of Pakistan’s adult population will be using mobile financial services by 2020.

“Collaborative mobile financial services, as opposed to bank-led or telco-led deployment, is the paradigm shift which will assist in creating a bigger and less costly enabling environment for the issuers, acquirers and service providers,” said Ali Abbas Sikander, CEO of Monet. “Financial Institutions are looking beyond technology, and want to focus on utilising it to offer products that give them access to new customers with a branchless advantage. This will drive collaboration between banks, mobile operators, merchants and distribution networks to bridge the financial services divide between the banked and unbanked customers.”

“The platform allows service providers to think big, start small and scale fast. The result will be an ecosystem that that will support the long term and sustained growth of the Pakistani mobile financial services market,” said Aletha Ling, COO at Fundamo, a Visa company.

Kamran Siddiqi, General Manager of Visa Middle East and North Africa, said: “We see access to financial services plays a critical role in poverty alleviation and the acceleration of a country’s economic development. Although there has been a significant rise of branchless banking in Pakistan, huge swaths of the population still lack access to services. We are pleased to work with leading companies to boost access to financial services using the mobile phone.”

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