FrontlineSMSat7: Mobile Money made easy and accessible
In the sixth of our seven blog posts celebrating the month that FrontlineSMS turns 7, Enock Musyoka, our FrontlineSMS: Credit Project Assistant, shares the impact FrontlineSMS:Credit’s PaymentView has on Nunguni Financial Service Association and its members. The power of owning a mobile phone is beyond SMS messages; PaymentView makes it easier to manage payment plans.
The adoption and growth of mobile money in Kenya has created an enormous opportunity to greatly improve the lives of those without access to financial services. More than one billion people have access to a mobile phone, but do not have a formal bank account. Historically financial institutions have been unable to reach low-income customers adequately, especially in remote areas, given the cost of bricks -and-motor branches. Working at FrontlineSMS, however, has given me an opportunity to support and learn from a variety of organizations as they begin to use and experiment with mobile money to increase access to everything from savings accounts to education.
Nunguni Financial Service Association (FSA) is one of those projects that I deem to be a success. This is a member-owned financial institution that provides a range of savings and credit products, including group and individual savings programs, as well as long-term and short-term loans. Nunguni FSA’s goal is to enable its members to repay loans via mobile money so that the FSA more efficiently receives group loan repayments and clients can repay with greater convenience.
I have worked with Nunguni FSA to support their use of PaymentView – a product of the FrontlineSMS:Credit project. Prior to the introduction of PaymentView, repayment was time-consuming, risky, and expensive for savings groups. Many savings groups meet more than 30 km from the FSA branch office, where they are required to remit loan repayments and saving deposits, involving long trips carrying risky amounts of money. PaymentView enables Nunguni FSA group leaders to remit repayments via mobile money from within a few kilometers of their meeting places. “This system has helped us to organize our transactions (Mpesa) easy and the auto-reply feature comes in handy. “ Daudi – the Manager at Nunguni FSA short remarks on PaymentView. Nunguni FSA has used FrontlineSMS to increase the quality, quantity, and accessibility of information about financial services available to the previously unbanked. In doing so, they not only help define the future of mobile money, but they also empower communities to determine their own future. While celebrating FrontlineSMS 7 years in existence my joy is seeing the impact that an application like this has on the unbanked.
We’re collecting photos of our users telling the world how they use FrontlineSMS. If you want to get in on the act, take a photo of yourself or your team holding a piece of paper or a whiteboard telling the world what you do with FrontlineSMS. For example: ‘I monitor elections’, ‘I safeguard children’ or ‘I make art’. You can see a slideshow of the photos we’ve had so far on our Flickr page.
It doesn’t matter what language it’s in as long as it’s legible and if possible you should be able to see from the photo where it was taken, so, if you can, get out of the office!
- post to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #FrontlineSMSat7
- email the picture and we’ll post them
- post the picture on our Ning network and we’ll post them
- post them on Flickr or any other web service and let us know where they are