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Send your money via your mobile

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13/02/2007

Mobile phone companies and banks are backing a plan to allow those working abroad to send money back home via their mobile phones. The initiative could double the number of recipients of international remittances to 1.5bn and quadruple the market from £117bn now to £513bn by 2012.

A pilot programme to enable this to happen was announced by trade body the GSM Association (GSMA), and was backed by 19 mobile phone companies representing over 600 million customers, including Vodafone and Telecom Italia.
The system permits people to put cash on to their own mobile phone and order it to be sent to a mobile abroad. The recipient gets a text message saying that this has been done and confirming that the money has arrived.
With less than 1 billion people having a bank account, yet more than 3 billion owning a mobile across the world, the arrangement could help people traditionally excluded from the global financial system. “The only way to serve these people is through mobile communications,” said GSMA spokesperson Ben Soppitt.
It is estimated that the process will cut the cost of sending money abroad from 24% of the transaction to a tiny percentage of the deal.
Sunil Mital, chief of Bharti Airtel, India’s largest mobile phone operator, said: “The scheme provides immense benefits to people in developing nations such as India.”

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