Raising mobile money awareness will bear fruit in Nigeria

There are nearly 110 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria but only 56 million people have bank accounts, giving the market massive growth potential for mobile money services.  Despite the staggering market potential, a study conducted by Visa and its mobile finance subsidiary Fundamo concluded that only 35% of respondents were aware of mobile money.

The study was aimed at establishing the financial services needs and expectations of mobile money among nearly 2,500 consumers, mobile money agents, and merchants in Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan. Consumers’ needs to financial services were typically found to be far more sophisticated than previously believed, going well beyond the established transaction set offered by mobile money services today.

Broadly speaking, the success of mobile financial services is determined by how deeply a mobile money provider understands its customers and tailors the service to the needs of consumers and mobile money agents – from service menus, to marketing and education.

To raise awareness and drive adoption, providers need to educate consumers on the key benefits and uses of mobile money services whilst tackling barriers to uptake. 83% of respondents in Nigeria cited “safety of not having to carry around a lot of cash” as the primary benefit of mobile money. The ability to quickly send money to family members (86%) is the principle intended use. “Whether the family you send money to will know how to get or receive the money” is the number one barrier to adoption in Nigeria (56%). 

“Nigeria has a vast unbanked population with high mobile phone penetration and a progressive regulator that is focused on creating a cashless economy. It has the potential to be the leading mobile money market in the world. The industry needs to work together to increase the awareness of mobile financial services in order to drive consumer adoption,” said Aletha Ling, COO at Fundamo. “The study has uncovered key market drivers and inhibitors as well as the best practices that will help mobile money providers ensure that the Nigerian market delivers on its promise.”

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