UK Mobile Money Transfer Service : Digital Innovation


The mobile phone and smartphone space has evolved in the recent past immensely with the world experiencing great cutting edge technology. Various organizations have come up with financial solutions that seem to be gaining significant popularity within the market as witnessed with a mobile money transfer program formulated by Vodafone and applied in Kenya dubbed the M-Pesa service. It is against this backdrop that I propose a mobile money transfer program aimed at exploiting the financial market space in the UK and beyond.

In 2007, Kenya transformed into a launching pad for M-Pesa, a life-changing mobile phone-based system used for among other things financial and money transfer services. M-Pesa has now become a universal digital technology not only in Kenya but in the surrounding East African countries as well.

This model cannot work for the UK market for various reasons. The M-Pesa platform was launched to provide money transfer services for the majority unbanked individuals in the East African country. The UK has nearly everybody banked from an early age, with ease of access to financial services through online access and internet banking. Another aspect that would prevent a 100% replication of the technology would be the nature of the UK financial market, which has many competitors who offer differentiated services as opposed to only a handful of big banks in Kenya. In this regard, M-Pesa needs to be improved and incorporate aspects befitting the UK financial market.

The new UK Mobile Money Transfer Service Features (UKMMTS)

The UKMMTS would be required to adapt to the UK financial market aspects. Instead of having money transfer services integrated with voice communication service providers unlike in Kenya, the UKMMTS would be based on an application developed solely with the purpose of incorporating agency banking services. The app would be exclusive to the services provided, and would be patented to prevent replication. This application will allow people to deposit and withdraw cash in electronic form by using the application available for free on the market as opposed to the traditional SIM cards in M-Pesa linked to the mobile phone application.

The application, will be installed on the mobile phone and would provide users with access to the UKMMTS after successful registration. In the UKMMTS menu, the application would have various options such as synchronization with statutory payments organizations, insurance companies, emergency services companies and financial institutions key to maximizing their revenues through commissions that they would charge to receive funds through the service.

Users will have their details recorded by registering with an authorized service agent with identification documents, with foreigners interested in using the service required to produce their passports.

Users would be able to use their UKMMTS account as a mobile banking platform with a fully-fledged account.

The Workability of UKMMTS

Unlike M-Pesa which incorporates voice and part money transfer service provision, the UKMMTS would be developed on the basis that commissions are only incurred after clients “use” the service, and therefore, one advantage it would have over similar services is there would be no charges for any deposits. Normal charges would be incurred for sending money.

The app would be linked to all ATM providers such that a user would be able to withdraw the deposited cash through an ATM without delay. The arrangement between UKMMTS provider and the ATM operators would be for the ATM to earn commission for all transactions carried out through the ATM.

Users would be required to download the free app from the app market. All transactions would be verified through the main server, which would automatically send a confirmation code for every transaction effected.

Target Audience

The UKMMTS would target individuals living in the rural UK and in places located too far from banks. It would need to operate where banks do not have a presence yet, or with customers who prefer not to work with banks. In addition, the service would also be targeting groups that do not have access to formal financial banking services.