We had a really interesting free-ranging conversation about remittances and new services for remittances yesterday.
Oh yes, I should say that I’m at a remittances conference so that’s the reason why.
The discussion was about the NEXT BIG THING in money transfer … or rather whether and if there is a NEXT BIG THING in money transfer.
To be honest, there’s not.
There’s just mobile.
Building on yesterday’s discussions of mobile, there’s actually just two discussions about mobile worth having in the remittances space: SMS texts for receivers and Mobile Internet Services for senders.
The general view is that SMS is it for wiring money to and fro. However, for the smart iPhone and Android users of this world, a fuller and richer experience using mobile internet apps might be a good thing.
Then some really good conversation started about why mobile remittances are all focused upon national systems like M-PESA and GCash, rather than the promise we thought was there for global mobile remittance services.
Global mobile remittance services still have that promise but, today, it is all national.
This is because any mobile operator could launch a local remittance service.
They don’t necessarily need to partner with a bank – did Safaricom for M-PESA or Globe Telecom for G-Cash – and they can just get on with it.
However, if you were launching a global service, you would need to include so many other players. Banks, Money Transfer Operators, Money Transfer Agents and Merchants, Mobile Carriers and more.
That gets way too complex and difficult.
We ended up saying that the breakthrough will come as we move towards national and regional hubs for payments and transactions.
In other words, SWIFT, the European Payments Council, the G8 payments development group, Mobey Forum, the GSMA and a few other key groups could create global standards and interoperability, along with multilateral clearing, to enable global money transfer.
Could be a long time coming, but worth watching out for …