Mobile Money Service Provider

Mobile Money Service Provider

Mobile Money is a form of digital money and as the name suggests this e-money can be used via cell phone. An individual needs to have a bank account linked to their mobile number to make transactions using the phone. Some common examples of Mobile Money Service Providers (MMSP) are Google Pay, Paytm, PhonePe, and all the banking institutes that allow virtual banking services.

In this article, we have performed a simple descriptive analysis on a global basis to understand who is actively using Mobile Money. As per the data, cell phone subscriptions have increased over time thus we have witnessed the rise of MMSPs and the usage of Mobile-money-services (MMS). Our analysis showed that the active consumers of this service are mostly rich, older adults, and men. So, Mobile money is not so popular with poor, young adults and women around the world. Is it because they do not have enough money to spend, hence reluctant to download a mobile money service providing app? As Edward R. Tufte once said, ‘Above all else, show the data’, thus, moving forward with the article.

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Mobile Money Service Provider – Introduction

IMF (International Monetary Fund) has defined Mobile Money as a pay-as-you-go mode of payment. It is a digital mode of payment system where you use your mobile to pay or receive money e.g. Google Pay, Paytm, bank apps, etc. In fact, Paytm is one of the largest MMSP in India and it serves over 400 m mobile subscribers as per Business World (2019) report.

Mobile Money is a digital form of money where your cell phone number is linked to your physical bank account. The service allows you to make transactions from your bank account without physically visiting the bank. It helps individuals to make monetary transactions using their mobile phones. Initially, each application required you to maintain a wallet such as Paytm wallet or airtel wallet. Gradually, with technological advancement, a definite virtual wallet is not required.

Benefits of MMSP:

  • Cashless money reduces the cost to the government as it lowers the money printing costs. It also helps an individual to travel without heavy coins and crumbled paper notes
  •  No or lower transaction costs
  •  Due to the ease of such transactions, the velocity of money transactions also increases.
  •  increases business growth as now transactions no longer are constrained within geographical boundaries.
  •  E-money is more convenient and hence an individual reduces his trips to the bank without affecting his demand for money. Thus, increasing the aggregate demand for the economy.


The data is freely accessible on the official World Bank website. However, we homogenized the data and formatted it at our convenience. We have attached it as a downloaded file below. It is panel data with 216 cross-sectional values across ten years. For our analysis we have specifically used the following data sets:

  • Mobile cellular subscriptions Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)
  • Account ownership with a MMSP, female
  • Account ownership with a MMSP, male
  • Account ownership with a MMSP, young adults
  • Account ownership with a MMSP, older adults
  • Account ownership with a MMSP, poorest 40%
  • Account ownership with a MMSP, richest 60%

Descriptive Analysis

Mobile Subscriptions

World Mobile Sub

We see a gradual rise in mobile subscriptions over the years.
In 2011. Myanmar reported only 2 out of 100 people using mobile subscriptions. On the other hand, Macao SAR reported 246 mobile subscriptions per 100 people. This is insane! This can be interpreted as per individual using more than 2 subscriptions. On average, the world had as high as 96 subscriptions per 100 individuals.
In 2020, the minimum subscription went up from 2 to 12. This was reported by South Sudan. Furthermore, Macao SAR still witnessed the highest mobile subscriptions of the year with 430 subscriptions per 100 people. The average subscription rose from 96 in 2011 to 111 in 2020.
Needless to mention, cell phones are a necessity in today’s world. From education to banking, everything is available on that gizmo. It seems to have wizardly powers which can make anything possible.

(Check out the excel sheet below for detailed analysis)

Gender Distribution

Mobile Money Gender distribution

This graph requires a bit of explanation. Each red dot in the scatter plot depicts the average male account holder with an MMSP of a country across 2011-2021. Additionally, each blue dot in the scatter plot depicts the average female account holder with an MMSP of a country across 2011-2021. A red dot and a blue dot together represent the male and female of a particular country.

Iceland is a perfect exception to our conclusion that females subscribed less than their male counterparts. In fact, Iceland reported a 1:1 ratio between male and female mobile subscriptions over the last 10 years. As a matter of fact, many European countries reported a balanced gender distribution

Yemen reported the lowest equality among male-female mobile money account owners.

In 2011, Turkmenistan reported the lowest female account ownership. Whereas, Finland reported the highest female account ownership. In 2021, South Sudan witnessed the lowest recorded female account ownership. Contrary, Australia, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden reported the highest female Mobile Money account ownership.

(Check out the excel sheet below for detailed analysis)

Age Distribution

Mobile Money Age distribution

Each red dot in the scatter plot depicts the average older adult account holder with an MMSP of a country across 2011-2021. Additionally, each blue dot in the scatter plot depicts the average young adult account holder with an MMSP of a country across 2011-2021.

Surprisingly enough, Iceland has reported absolute equality among individuals holding an MMSP account. On the other hand, Yemen has reported a poor distribution of MMSP accounts between young adults (15% of the total MMSP accounts) and older adults (85% of the total MMSP accounts) across 10 years.

In 2011, Turkmenistan reported no MMSP accounts were held by young adults in their country. Overall, the MMSP accounts held in the country were very less. It also recorded the lowest older adult account ownership in global comparison for 2011. Conversely, Finland reported the highest MMSP accounts ownership by young adults and Denmark reported the highest for older adults.

In 2021, South Sudan again reported poor account ownership by young adults and older adults. However, Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom reported the highest young adult account ownership. Again, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Netherlands, and Norway had the highest older adult account ownerships too.

(Check out the excel sheet below for detailed analysis)

Income Distribution

Mobile Money Income distribution

Each red dot in the scatter plot depicts the average poorest 40% account holder with an MMSP of a country across 2011-2021. Additionally, each blue dot in the scatter plot depicts the average richest 60% account holder with an MMSP of a country across 2011-2021.

Burundi reported on 17% of the poor population owning an MMSP account over 10 years. Whereas, Iceland had the best 1:1 distribution between the poor and rich population.

in 2011, 99% of the total poor population of Finland had an MMSP account – which is remarkable. On the other hand, South Sudan reported the worst poor account ownership of 2021 globally i.e. only 4% of the country’s poor population held an account with an MMSP.

Turkmenistan (lowest) and Germany (highest) are on the extreme ends with rich owning accounts in 2011. Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, and Sweden reported the highest % of rich people owning MMSP accounts in their countries.

Mobile Money Service Provider Data File

Conclusion – Mobile Money

Mobile Money is a convenient method to scale up the velocity of transactions in any economy. It will pull up the aggregate demand and thus benefit the welfare. However, it is odd to see that women, young adults, and the poor section globally are being left out of this benefit scheme. Turkmenistan and South Sudan are the two countries where MMSP account ownership between male-female, rich-poor, and young-older adults witnessed high inequality. Iceland, on the other hand, reported absolute equality. Helping the poor or women to set up an MMSP account should be beneficial to the Government too since transferring direct benefits to the weaker sections will become easier than before. A march towards digitalization should help one and all.

Ms. Shreya Roy

Ms. Roy is the Director and Founder at Ecofunomics LLP. She is an economist by profession and currently a Ph.D. research scholar at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. She is a lover of art and a philanthropist by heart.

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