I was jut updating a presentation about mobile payments.
The presentation was from May 2011 and talked extensively about Google Wallet, Square and M-PESA.
One year on and the presentation still talks about the same things but I am shocked and amazed about how much things have changed in just eighteen months.
For example, the focus of the presentation was mainly on M-PESA, NFC contactless mobile payments and the impact of Google Wallet.
Eighteen months later, and the focus is firmly upon Square and the rise of mobile payments in other territories like India.
Now I’ve written lots about Square, so I’m not going there – although I love the fact that it was originally going to be called Squirrel – but the Indian story is a newer one that I’ve only just garnered, so it’s worth repeating here.
Now we all know that India is a massive market with over a billion consumers.
Like China, it could be the largest market for new forms of banking and is already showing signs of doing things differently.
This is in part due to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) managing a strategic rollout of mobile payments to encourage financial inclusion.
According to the EIU report I referred to yesterday:
- A third of the Indian population are completely unbanked;
- 55% of the population has a deposit account;
- 10% have life insurance;
- 90% use cash to pay for their daily needs;
- Money orders and cheques dominate fund transfers; and
- Only a tenth of India’s 630,000 villages have a bank branch.
Over the past two years, RBI has granted 17 wallet licenses to mobile carriers. There are restrictions with the wallets, e.g. you cannot get cash out unless the carrier has partnered with a bank, but that has not stopped the developments transforming the country almost overnight.
And it is not just the actions of the RBI but also the encouragement of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). NPCI is India’s ACH. Owned by the banks, PCI has been running an interbank mobile payment systems since November 2010 and, by June 2012, 36 million people had registered for the service.
The results have been phenomenal
- There were 3.34 million mobile banking transactions in June 2012 worth Rs 3067 million (US$55 million), more than double from a year earlier
- There was a 143% year on year growth in volume and 211% YoY growth in value of transactions.
Source: the Economist Intelligence Unit
Even more noteworthy was the announcement of NPCI to expand the mobile payments service to retail payments last week, as this could ignite a flame of change.
Initially the NPCI services was purely for P2P payments,. Now that mobile merchant payments are allowed it should dramatically increase commerce as, today, there are just 600,000 point of sale terminals in India shared amongst ten million merchants.
So, this announcement by the NPCI is like offering Square for India, but in a country where ten million merchants and a billion people have been unable to transact effectively before.