Monday, December 03, 2007

Convergence of mobile and banking

The Regulatory Implications of Mobile and Financial Services Convergence

Ivan Mortimer-Schutts

The long awaited integration of mobile telephone and retail financial services is beginning to emerge—in developing markets. To enhance the potential benefits from innovations in this domain, governments need to make complementary adjustments to domestic banking regulation and strengthen frameworks for international cooperation. In particular, as a highly regulated activity, deposit taking is insufficiently contestable for mobile operators to break into the market with enough independence from incumbent banks to stimulate valuable competition and innovation in payment networks. The success of mobile banking will also depend on the willingness and capacity of regulators to accommodate increasing international trade in retail financial services, new forms of distribution and customer due diligence rules that are more appropriate to less traditional markets. The paper provides an analysis of the relation between existing regulatory frameworks and the rise of mobile banking. And it outlines policy changes that governments should pursue in order to foster this form of innovation and target the benefits that it can bring, especially to consumers on the margins or excluded from modern financial services.

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