Social Media Driving Mobile Money Boom (July 22, 2015)
Mobile money transfers are projected to balloon nearly 150 percent this year, with social media services driving much of that growth. The number of mobile money transfers worldwide is expected to reach 13 billion in 2015, according to the study from U.K.-based Juniper Research. Social media platforms comprise a major chunk of that figure; PayPal-owned Venmo alone is driving $1 billion worth of P2P money transfers per quarter, according to Juniper. Other social media providers, including Facebook and a partnership between Snapchat and Square, also recently launched money transfer services. And, recent reports suggest Apple may be developing a P2P service based on its popular Apple Pay service—which could drive usage even further.
The confluence of social media and money transfer is even more pronounced in markets outside the U.S. China’s WeChat service saw more than 3.3 billion P2P transactions in just six days in February, over the Chinese New Year period when small amounts of money traditionally are given as gifts to friends and family. Meanwhile, in developing markets, airtime top-ups accounted for the largest share of P2P transactions. But the report also found significant growth in uses, such as microlending and micro-insurance, suggesting that social media may be a good source for underwriting data for borrowers with limited credit history.
Among the report’s other key findings was that 17 markets—the majority in sub-Saharan Africa—now have more mobile wallets than banked individuals. And mobile money providers are expected to generate $2 billion from transfer services this year, with that figure growing to $4 billion by 2018, according to Juniper.