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Ask a Microfinance Expert: M-Banking

By Sonja Egeland Kelly

The microfinance landscape has changed because of the advent of mobile phone banking technology. With the simple use of a cellular phone, Opportunity clients can check their account balances, transfer money between accounts, send money to other people, pay bills, receive salary or government payments, and buy airtime. If the people cannot come to the bank, Opportunity brings the bank to them through their phones.

Rural clients in particular will hopefully be able to thrive under the mobile phone banking system.

In order to track and leverage success, Opportunity utilizes the expertise of Director of Knowledge Management Estelle Berger. Estelle has worked in the microfinance field around the globe. For this particular study, Estelle teamed up with the SEEP Network and the IGP Learning Network to publish her findings.

The results are compelling. While mobile phone banking is still in its infancy, Opportunity recognizes the key role this technology plays in reducing poverty.

“Their goal is to reduce transaction costs… and augment outreach to customers who cannot access OIBM’s physical outlets. Their target market includes the unbanked and underbanked of Malawi, most of whom live in rural and peri-urban areas of the country,” explains Estelle. She says that if it is successful, the program will be “transformational for the people of Malawi.”

You can find the full report here. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them below!

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