23 February 2009

Open source and mobile banking

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After coming home from the Mobile World Congress, Mark Pickens, a microfinance analyst with CGAP’s Technology Program, asks why, when he can load any software he want onto his PC, he can’t do the same with his phone. Better yet, why can’t poor people?

“I’d love to see a boom of cheap m-banking software, designed by people who know how poor people want to use their phones. Although lower-income, non-Western users make up 80% of the world’s new mobile consumers, the guys in Finland, Sweden and South Korea still decide how people’s phones look and feel. But for how long? I’m interested, because I expect usability to be one key in how fast poor people are willing to adopt mobile-based financial services (which CGAP believes can blow open the frontier for access to finance for the poor).”

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