Philippines Takes Center Stage Hosting International Mobile Money Transfer Conference
The Philippines has the “most acclaimed and mature” mobile money programs in the world; thus, there could be no better place in the world to hold a conference of international mobile money technology (MMT) leaders. This was according to the organizers of the Asia Pacific Mobile Money Transfer Conference to be held in Manila this December.
The world’s pioneer in mobile phone banking, the Philippines has one of the most organized, sophisticated and successful mobile money systems in the world. With over PhP 13 Billion worth of mobile money transactions each month, the Philippines exhibits outstanding performance in terms of effective use of mobile phones, mobile money and mobile phone banking services.
Through the years, MMT has been revolutionizing the flow and management of money worldwide, giving new definitions to bills payment, management of payrolls, and person-to-person mobile money transfers. Experts forecast that by 2013, mobile money will be worth about $ 202 billion, of which 60% will be from the Asia-Pacific and Far East regions.
In the Philippines, mobile money technology has allowed the unbanked sector to have convenient and affordable access to banks’ financial services. Industry leaders estimate that about 364 million more people in the developing world without access to financial services will be using mobile money and mobile phone banking services by 2012. With the high cost of transportation and traditional money-sending, mobile money provides an excellent alternative to the Philippines’ money-sending (and receiving) population.
The Philippines, through telecommunication giant Smart Communications and its Smart Money platform, has been using mobile money for over ten years—one of the longest running in the world. This was followed in 2004 by Globe Telecom’s GCASH platform.
From its inception, the country’s mobile money industry continues to enjoy extensive growth in the number of users and mobile money transactions, thanks in part to the rural banking industry. Initiated by the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS) Program supported by USAID/Philippines, the work on mobile phone banking services for rural banks and their customers began in the Philippines by utilizing the GCASH platform back in 2004. Through this technology, rural bank clients have been able to convert cash into mobile money and conduct transactions like deposits, withdrawals, remittances, bill payments, loan payments, and salary administration simply through SMS (short message service) or text messaging. Accredited rural banks are already serving over 100,000 mobile phone banking clients using GCASH and are currently pilot testing the use of Smart Money Services.
Based on the Philippines’ success as a pioneer and leader in the mobile money industry, the first ever MMT Conference and Expo for Asia and the Pacific will be held in Manila on December 8 and 9 at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. The MMT Asia Pacific Conference will gather some of the most important mobile money industry leaders from various countries, along with banks, mobile network operators, and regulators. The MMT Asia-Pacific (MMT) Conference and Expo follows a tradition of MMT conferences, including the first MMT Summit held in Dubai in 2008, which hosted over 270 delegates from 44 countries around the world. MMT Africa was another such event, which gathered more than 250 project leaders, as well as the 2nd MMT Summit held in Dubai on October 26 and 27, 2009 which hosted more than 270 senior-level delegates.
The MMT Asia Pacific conference will feature presentations from leaders in mobile money, mobile technology and finance institutions, including Abhishek Sinha, CEO and co-founder of Indian financial service provider, EKO; Gregg Marshall, senior vice president of Singapore-based mobile wallet developer, Utiba; Bin Zhang, general manager of China Mobile and China UnionPay joint venture, Union Mobile Pay; Naushad Contractor, Marketing Mobile Commerce Head of Indian cellular operator, Vodafone Essay; and Reyhan, Head of Commerce at Indonesian cellular telecommunications company, Telkomsel. One of the key presenters would be Carol Realini, CEO of Obopay–world leader in global mobile payments and financial services based in the United States.
The conference will also host other leaders in the MMT industry, including the M-Pesa Head Pauline Vaughan, Citi Head of e-business Melissa Henson, Smart Communications President and CEO Napoleon Nazareno, Globe Telecom President Ernest Cu, President and CEO of Globe Telecom, Group Head, Financial Services, Smart Communications, Jojo Malolos, and G-Xchange Inc. President Rizza Maniego-Eala among others.