SIMM

SCALING  INNOVATIONS  in  MOBILE  MONEY  (SIMM)  PROJECT

BACKGROUND


The lack of access to financial services in the rural Philippines presents a major barrier to achieving broad-based economic growth. Mobile money (m-money) offers an innovative, cost-effective means to create high-impact development that benefits marginalized populations.

SIMM will build upon USAID’s current interventions in microenterprise access and mobile banking (m-banking) to expand financial services through new technologies.

PROJECT  FOCUS

SIMM advances  financial  inclusion  through  these  inter-connected goals:

  1. Boost expansion and rapid adoption of m-money services
  2. Create  an  enabling  environment  for  m-money.

SIMM will target four broad areas of strategic intervention: (1) the payment system, (2) government services, (3) electronic payroll (e-Payroll) distribution, and (4) the agent network distribution. Cutting across these strategic areas, this two-year project will address supply and demand constraints to broaden adoption of m-money in the Philippines while promoting global knowledge sharing.

 

PROGRAM  HIGHLIGHTS

USAID has worked extensively with mobile network operators Globe and Smart over the past few years and is poised to expand cooperation to deepen financial inclusion through technological innovations grounded in developmental applications. While most m-banking deployments around the world provide a new delivery channel to existing bank clients, transformative models like SIMM aspire to integrate unbanked populations into the formal financial sector.

Financial services provide the means for the poor and unbanked to build assets, better withstand shocks, and participate more broadly in the formal economy. Mobile phone banking has the potential to help the Philippines reach development goals faster and make those gains sustainable. With just 26 percent of Filipinos enjoying access to formal financial channels, a latent demand remains largely untapped since 610 out of 1,635 municipalities do not have banks.

Moreover, as much as one-half of mobile users in the Philippines are unbanked. To the extent financial inclusion plays any role in addressing development challenges, interventions in m-money provide another means to reach the poor and financially under-served. M-money presents the potential to leapfrog not only conventional banking models, but also development challenges of financial and economic inclusion. Yet, while the number of m-money deployments has experienced explosive growth around the world, the number of active m-money users has not grown commensurately. SIMM intends to:

  • Grow m-money to more than 1 million active users, one-quarter of who are new subscribers to m-money services.
  • Train more than 10,000 people through financial education and literacy on the uses of m-money and m-money services for improved household financial management.
  • Provide  10,000  people  new  savings  accounts  via  m-banking.
  • Establish  an  additional  2,500  cash-in/cash-out  merchant  partners focusing  on  rural  areas.
  • Increase payroll implementation and adoption to 100 small, medium, and large businesses and one GPH agency or local government unit.
  • Increase  the  volume  (monetary  value)  of  m-money  transactions  by  over  200  percent.
  • Sponsor conferences and venues for networking support and produce research papers and assessments for knowledge sharing.