Mobile Money Success | Common Factors

As a consultant and through my work at Fundamo over the past few years, I have had the privilege to visit and study dozens of Mobile Money/Payments business around the world and one of the questions I always get asked is “What makes a successful Mobile Money/Payments business?” Which is a very broad question, but luckily I now have a fairly refined answer.
From my observations of the market there are two VERY key success factors that have driven success in multiple countries:

  1. Understand your Market:

Far too many business get into the Mobile Money/Payments space thinking it’s purely a technology play. Banks are currently the worst at doing this. When it comes to understanding a market, one doesn’t have to look into a crystal ball. There are some simple tools that marketers have used for years. Take for example the six P’s of marketing. Which a slightly different spin, the six P’s can help a business gain a deep understand of a markets behaviors, priorities and demand gaps.
The Six P’s of Marketing.

  • Understand the demographics of the People.
  • Research & Identify Market Traits. Identify the Community Units & Segments
  • Sample Test Penetration Activities
  • Find engaged local partners and seek to understand: People


  • Use the market identification & entry models
  • Maintain the Product, tailor the Distribution & Positioning


  • Find the ‘sweet’ stop for price
  • Price has to be competitive against alternatives, including cash based services

Place (distribution)

  • The best entry points are the community’s source of funds.
  • The largest source of funds is labor markets. Also, the employer of the largest p2p opportunity
  • Follow Natural Cash Flows and re-apply. Everyone has the potential to use p2p. Majority already do. You just need to understand where the money already flows. Understand the movement of money within a community and its affiliated communities.
  • Salary Payments ‘win-win’ for employer and employee. But how do you get salary money to remain in the system?


  • Education, Trust & Awareness are key
  • Visit & Listen to the communities
  • A foreigner learning local language builds a bridge of trust and creditability
  • Incentivize entire value chain & reward loyalty


  • Look for pain-points in current cash services
  • Appeal to the dreams and aspirations of the market, but maintain a perception of attainability
  • Work with the community on pilots and proposition testing

2. Task Force:
One of the most energizing attributes of successful businesses in this space is an incentivized sales team. A team that engages the communities acquires and trains new customers, acts as a face-to-face customer service, works with the community to encourage long-term adoption, but most of all this team are rewarded for success.

  • Wizzit’s Wizz Kids wear their shirts with pride as they spend time in the field signing up new customers and training them to use the service.
  • WING’s Pilots spend large amounts of time signing up friends, families and fellow students in Cambodia.
  • MTN Uganda’s Road Warriors travel across the country under the watchful eye of Dr. Love in pursuit of their daily targets.
  • John Owen’s team at MABS are on a continual mission to drive financial services to rural communities on G-Cash in the Philippines.

In summary, the old idea of “built it and they will come” just won’t work. You need to understand and engage the people, refine your offering as you learn and have a dedicated team that drives customer acquisitions and adoption. Otherwise you’ll be left wondering why no one is signing up, or using the services.