Francesc Prior Sanz
Recent research shows that business models based on prepaid electronic payments systems and agent networks can help address the problem of lack of access to financial services observed in the vast majority of developing countries. In this 2012 study we reviewed the development of mobile financial services (MFS) in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, and Lebanon, as a way to solve the supply-related problems that explain the low access to finance rates these countries suffer. We concluded that adapting the regulatory framework is the most important challenge for the uptake of MFS initiatives. We also concluded that MFS business models can extend access to finance to the unbanked by reducing transaction costs through the use of prepaid platforms, agent networks, alternative risk management policies, optimization of remittances, and new or reformed retail payments architectures. Finally, we also observed that MFS initiatives could greatly favour the development of the microfinance sector.