I Want My iMoney
by Idris Mootee
Congrats to Nick Hughes (managing director of Signal Point Partners and LBS alum) for picking up the Social and Economic award at the Economist Innovation Awards a few weeks ago held at the Science Museum in London. Nick was recognized for his part in creating the M-Pesa venture in Kenya, a mobile money-transfer initiative – something that is long overdue in the world of banking unmet needs.
M-Pesa was first launched in 2005, allow people to transfer money, pay bills and save using a mobile phone, without NO bank account. Handset to handset money transfer, you would wonder why we don’t have it here. Now it is widely adoption in different parts of Africa with over 12 million users in Kenya alone. I see this is more than a technology innovation; it is a social innovation to facilitate economic development in the developing world.
Today, it still takes weeks to clear a check, transferring money is still a pain and fees are hefty. It is time for disruptive change. PayPay was great; never really get beyond the web. It should have been Twitter Wallet or Facebook Money that we are using now. Twitpay is one of those; the service has only 15,000 users to date. They are not the only one trying to attack the payment ecosystem, seeking out ways small and large to tear down the fortress the banks and credit card companies have built to defend their businesses.
PayPal is trying to harness the creative powers of open innovation to rethink payments. ClickandBuy’s Facebook application allows Facebook users will be able to easily execute money transfers among each other and purchase Facebook apps quickly and conveniently. Another one called Square, a new company founded by Twitter cocreator Jack Dorsey, lets anyone accept physical credit card payments through a smartphone or computer by plugging in a free sugar-cube-sized device — no expensive card reader required. I don’t know why Google is not attacking this seriously, big markets and big money. I guess that’s the problem with bottom-up innovation and efforts that are not aligned with opportunities.
And I’d rather using Apple i-Money and use i-Tunes to manage my banking. Steve, forget the movie studios… go for the banks!!!! I am looking forward to getting rid of my wallet… so I have more room for gadgets.
Idris Mootee is the CEO of idea couture, a strategic innovation and experience design firm. He is the author of four books, tens of published articles, and a frequent speaker at business conferences and executive retreats.