Image credit: Oxymoney
Smartphones have become cheaper, more capable, and more popular over the past 10 years. An estimated 2 billion or so people around the world do not have bank accounts, but many of them have mobile phones. Companies have long-since rolled out banking services for mobile phone users, but an Indian company has come up with a new angle.
GMobi developed a mobile payment service called Oxymoney to help the huge unbanked population in India transfer money reliably and quickly to people who do not have bank accounts. The service is mobile-only, because the target market of lower- and working-class Indians does not really use PCs.
GMobi’s founder Paul Wu explains the logic of the service this way: A laborer works in New Delhi and wants to send money to his parents. He would generally go to a brick-and-mortar business to begin the transfer of cash. At the other end, his parents would have to go to an area bank to withdraw their cash. This could take over a week or more. There are fees involved that eat into the modest sum the average laborer can send home.
With Oxymoney, the laborer sends money through their service for a fee of only 1%. The money goes to a local business that has a bank account. The parents then pick up their cash. This process can take as little as one day. There is no minimum with Oxymoney, though most users send $15 to $30 with each transfer. As of mid-2017, GMobi has approximately 10 million users in India.
Mobile payment services like Oxynoney seem to have huge potential to reach unbanked populations in India. TechCrunch reports that India is the fastest growing smartphone market in the world. There could be as many as 1.4 billion mobile phone subscriptions active in 2014.
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