Mobile Payments: Problem or Solution? Implications for financial inclusion

The introduction of mobile payment services is bringing significant changes to the ways in which consumers can make financial transactions. Although online and phone banking have been available for some time, new mobile payment services are distinctive, as their provision involves companies across the financial services and communications sectors, and may also include intermediary bodies.

It is critical that these developments are explored from a consumer standpoint as they raise important questions about the implications for financial inclusion and the effectiveness of consumer protection and regulatory frameworks in this changing and potentially confusing landscape.

This report focuses on the implications of these developments for consumers in vulnerable circumstances. Although almost anyone can be adversely affected when things go wrong in financial services, as in other sectors, the effects are likely to impact more heavily on people who are already in vulnerable situations. It is also vital that the potential benefits of mobile payment services are fully realised in order to minimise financial exclusion rather than add to it.