The scheme targets mobile money providers and was put in place to give consumers more confidence in providers regarding their rights, safety of their funds, and customer service. Certification depends on an assessment of a provider’s ability to deliver on these matters and efforts they take against money laundering and terrorism financing.
GSMA is an international body that represents mobile network operators across the globe.
In the announcement of the launch of GSMA Mobile Money Certification on April 12th, GSMA also indicated that the first providers to be certified were Orange Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya’s Safaricom, Telenor Microfinance Bank Ltd. (Easypaisa Pakistan), Tigo Tanzania (Millicom Group), and Vodacom Tanzania. In total, these providers have a coverage of 98 million accounts.
The certification scheme is open to all mobile money providers, including banks and PSPs. Companies are assessed independently by assessors trained and managed by Alliances Management.
When a company wants to become certified, they enter into a three-year consultative process spearheaded by GSMA, who in developing the certification scheme worked with providers in Latin America, Asia, and Africa to better understand challenges faced by businesses in their respective markets and to compile best practices criteria.
In a press release, GSMA notes that while the criteria for certification focus on security, consumer rights, money laundering prevention, and prevention of fraud and terrorism financing, their criteria also take regulation into consideration: “The Certification criteria complements providers’ compliance efforts, but goes beyond regulation in its detail and scope, defining and promoting industry best practices in detail”. GSMA goes on to mention that companies engaging in responsible business practices help regulators in achieving their goals regarding stability, integrity, consumer protection, and financial inclusion.
On the topic of financial inclusion, John Giusti, chief regulatory officer at GSMA, mentioned that the existence of over 690 million mobile money accounts around the globe proves that mobile money is affecting financial inclusion in a positive manner, “providing access to life-enhancing financial services and serving as a gateway to the digital economy” and contributing to 13 of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Regarding the SDGs, he says that mobile money helps give people access to critical services like education and healthcare, reduces poverty, and creates job opportunities.
By Elliot Lyons, Research Analyst