1 June 2009

Thinking about an Ushahidi-for-mBanking platform

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putting people first
by experientia

m-Pesa
After Patrick Meier, a doctoral research fellow at Harvard University, a PhD candidate at The Fletcher School, and an active contributor at Ushahidi, participated in a high-level mobile banking (mBanking) conference in Nairobi, he reflected on the issue of trust in mobile banking in emerging markets, and presents a crowdsourced solution in a piece on iRevolution.

“One of the issues that keeps cropping up when discussing mBanking (and branchless banking) is the challenge of agent reliability and customer service. How does one ensure the trustworthiness of a growing network of agents and simultaneously handle customer complaints?

A number of speakers at Fletcher’s recent conference highlighted these challenges and warned they would become more pressing with time. So this got me thinking about an Ushahidi-for-mBanking platform.

Since mBanking customers by definition own a mobile phone, a service like M-Pesa or Zap could provide customers with a dedicated short code which they could use to text in concerns or report complaints along with location information. These messages could then be mapped in quasi real-time on an Ushahidi platform. This would provide companies like Safaricom and Zain with a crowdsourced approach to monitoring their growing agent network.”

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(See also this Reuters story)

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