The Role And Impact Of Mobile Money As A Financial Service Offering

Brief Background on Mobile Money

There is no denying that the mobile money phenomenon continues to expand at record pace. By the end of 2013, mobile money services were available in most developing and emerging markets with 219 mobile money services implemented in 84 countries compared to 179 services in 75 countries at the end of 2012 (Pénicaud & Katakam, 2014). By June 2013, there were over 60 million active mobile money accounts globally and still growing rapidly with 13 mobile money services having over 1 million active users (Pénicaud & Katakam, 2014). The Philippines was the first country to roll out the first known sustainable mobile money service (Smart Money) and Kenya’s M-PESA being currently the most well-known mobile money service (Donavan, 2012; Heyer & Mas, 2010; Morawczynski, 2009).

Using The Example of Cambodia

Cambodia is regarded as a “low-income” country in the Southeast Asia region with a per capita gross national income (GNI) of US$820, compared to an average GNI of US$4,200 in the East Asia and Pacific region, US$1,530 in “lower middle income” India and US$48,000 in “high income” USA (WBG, 2014). In 2012, Cambodia has a population of about 14.8 million with about 20 per cent (about 3 million) living in urban areas and 80 per cent (about 11.8 million) living in rural areas or subsistence marketplace regions (WBG, 2014).

In January 2009, a mobile money service provider called WING Money Cambodia (WING) was officially launched in Cambodia to provide rural residents access to basic financial services through mobile phones (IFC 2011). By the end of 2012, WING had over 400,000 registered mobile money account users with services available in all of Cambodia’s 24 provinces (WING 2013a, 2013b). By 2012, more than 22 million mobile financial transactions had been processed with the total transaction volume of about US$287 million (WING 2013a, 2013b).

How does Mobile Money Impact Lives

While it has been established that mobile money does impact lives (Mas & Morawczynski, 2009; Morawczynski, 2009, 2011; Vong, Fang, & Insu, 2012), there is a need to further understand how mobile money services impact lives. More specifically, in what ways have mobile money impact lives in terms of enhancing consumer well-being?

Consumer well-being generally refers to the alignment of individual and societal needs (i.e. physical, psychological, economic, social) in relation to consumption (Burroughs & Rindfleish, 2011; Pancer & Handelman, 2012). One aspect of consumer well-being is eudaimonic well-being which highlights dimensions like access, literacy, consumer involvement, respect, support and social networks at individual, collective and ecosystem levels (Anderson et al., 2013).

A recent paper published in the Journal of Marketing Management provides insights to deepen our understanding on how mobile money impacts lives, more specifically on how mobile money enhances consumer well-being.

The impacts of mobile money services on consumer well-being can be categorised at two distinct levels (Fang, Russell, & Singh, 2014). The first level impacts involve the marketing exchanges, more specifically around the safety, convenience and speed of the money transfer transactions. The three themes identified in this first level are (1) Enhancing accessibility, (2) Reducing task complexity and (3) Elimination of intermediation (Fang et al., 2014). The second level impacts are on the social network relationships resulting from the first level impacts on the actual physical money transfer transaction. The three themes identified in the second level are (1) Interpersonal level, (2) Social group level and (3) Cultural level (Fang et al., 2014).

Fang, J., Russell, R., & Singh, S. (2014). Exploring The Impact of Mobile Money Services on Marketing Interactions in Relation to Consumer Well-Being in Subsistence Marketplaces – Lessons from Rural Cambodia. Journal of Marketing Management, 30(05-06), 445-475.


Anderson, L., Ostrom, A. L., Corus, C., Fisk, R. P., Gallan, A. S., Giraldo, M., . . . Williams, J. D. (2013). Transformative Service Research: An Agenda for The Future. Journal of Business Research, 66(8), 1203-1210. doi:

Burroughs, J. E., & Rindfleish, A. (2011). What Welfare? On the Definition and Domain of Transformative Consumer Research and the Foundational Role of Materialism. In D. G. Mick, S. Pettigrew, C. Pechmann & J. L. Ozanne (Eds.), Transformative Consumer Research for Personal and Collective Well-Being (pp. 245-262). New York, USA: Taylor & Francis.

Donavan, K. (2012). Chapter 4 - Mobile Money for Financial Inclusion. In T. Kelly, N. Friederici, M. Minges & M. Yamamichi (Eds.), 2012 Information and Communications for Development - Maximizing Mobile (pp. 61-74). Washington DC, USA: The World Bank Group.

Fang, J., Russell, R., & Singh, S. (2014). Exploring The Impact of Mobile Money Services on Marketing Interactions in Relation to Consumer Well-Being in Subsistence Marketplaces – Lessons from Rural Cambodia. Journal of Marketing Management, 30(05-06), 445-475. doi: 10.1080/0267257X.2014.884619

Heyer, A., & Mas, I. (2010). Seeking Fertile Grounds for Mobile Money Retrieved from

Mas, I., & Morawczynski, O. (2009). Designing Mobile Money Services Lessons from M-PESA. Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, 4(2), 77-91. doi: 10.1162/itgg.2009.4.2.77

Morawczynski, O. (2009). Exploring The Usage and Impact of “Transformational” Mobile Financial Services: The Case of M-PESA in Kenya. Journal of Eastern African Studies, 3(3), 509-525. doi: 10.1080/17531050903273768

Morawczynski, O. (2011). Saving Through The Mobile: A Study of M-PESA in Kenya. In A. Ashta (Ed.), Advanced Technologies for Microfinance: Solutions and Challenges (pp. 148-164). Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA: IGI Global.

Pancer, E., & Handelman, J. (2012). The Evolution of Consumer Well-Being. Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, 4(1), 177-189. doi:

Pénicaud, C., & Katakam, A. (2014). State of the Industry 2013: Mobile Financial Services for the Unbanked Retrieved from

Vong, J., Fang, J., & Insu, S. (2012). Delivering Financial Services through Mobile Phone Technology: A Pilot Study on Impact of Mobile Money Service on Micro-Entrepreneurs in Rural Cambodia. International Journal of Information Systems and Change Management, 6(2), 177-186. doi: 10.1504/IJISCM.2012.051152

WBG. (2014). The World Bank Group World dataBank - World Development Indicators (WDI) & Global Development Finance (GDF) Retrieved from


Interesting. so what can Paypal or Bitcoin learn from this ?


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I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!