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24
Fri, Nov

Building integrity on mobile money platforms

Mobile phones have evolved in the last decade to become tools of economic empowerment for the world's poorest people.

These phones compensate for inadequate infrastructure, such as bad roads and slow postal services. They allow information to be disseminated more freely, make markets more efficient and thereby unleash entrepreneurship.

All this has a direct impact on economic growth: an extra 10 phones per 100 people in a typical developing country boosts GDP growth by 0.8 percentage points, according to the World Bank.

More than four billion handsets are now in use worldwide, three-quarters of them in the developing world. Even in Africa, four in 10 people now have a mobile phone.

With such phones now so commonplace, a new opportunity beckons, mobile money, which allows cash to travel as quickly as a text message.

Across the developing world, corner shops are where people buy vouchers to top up their call credit. Mobile money services allow these small retailers to act rather like bank branches.

It is a faster, cheaper and safer way to transfer money than the alternatives, such as the slow, costly transfers via banks and post offices, or handing an envelope of cash to a bus driver.

Mobile money also provides a stepping stone to formal financial services for the billions of people who lack access to savings accounts, credit and insurance.

Ghana’s success story has demonstrated mobile money's potential, and its benefits are starting to be more widely appreciated.

More enlightened regulators are no longer insisting that these services meet the rigid rules for formal banking. Some banks have also come to see mobile money not as a threat but as an opportunity, and are teaming up with operators to make it work.

The Daily Graphic thinks mobile money presents a shining opportunity to start a second wave of mobile-led development across the developing world. Operators, banks and regulators should seize it.

However, the problem of mobile money fraud is taking the shine off the mobile money success and mobile money companies have a responsibility to deal with this canker once and for all.

The Daily Graphic is, however, excited that the biggest telecommunication company, MTN, has taken the bold initiative to sanitise its platform by sanctioning some of its agents and introducing more security features to safeguard the integrity of its platforms.

While the telcos put in stringent measures to ensure the security of the mobile money platforms, the system can be better enhanced if subscribers take personal responsibility for safeguarding their devices.

 The Daily Graphic also adds its voice to the telcos in cautioning subscribers not to download an app anywhere apart from Google Play, IOS or Windows App Store. These are the safest places to download apps for your mobile device.

  When these tips are adequately adhered to in addition to the enhanced security features of the telcos, the mobile money platform will be safe and secure for all.