The West Africa GSMA on April 12 announced the launch of the GSMA Mobile Money Certification, a worldwide scheme for mobile money providers to provide safer, comprehensive and more resilient financial services to millions of mobile money users around the world.
The certification banks on an independent evaluation of a mobile money provider’s ability to deliver secure and reliable services, to protect the rights of consumers and to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
It is also designed to enhance consumer trust and accelerate commercial partnerships by setting a high bar to which all providers can aspire.
“The GSMA Mobile Money Certification is a consumer-focused initiative, aimed at giving customers confidence that a provider has taken steps to ensure their funds are in safe hands, their rights are protected and they can expect a high level of customer service,” said John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA.
He added that there with more than 690 million accounts globally, the mobile money industry is having a conspicuous impact on the global effort to expand financial inclusion, providing access to life-enhancing financial services and serving as a gateway to the digital economy.
Mobile money is directly advancing 13 of the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals by facilitating access to essential services such as health and education, providing employment opportunities and eliminating poverty.
The accreditation scheme was arrived at after a three-year consultative process led by the GSMA with providers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to understand the challenges of their business and assemble best practices from these markets.
It is open to all mobile money providers, regardless of whether they are a mobile operator, a bank or other type of payment service provider.
Orange Côte d’Ivoire, Safaricom (Kenya), Telenor Microfinance Bank Ltd. (Easypaisa Pakistan), Tigo Tanzania (Millicom Group) and Vodacom Tanzania are the first to be certified, covering 98 million accounts in four markets.
The deal is aimed at promoting the application of consistent risk mitigation and consumer protection practices across key areas of business.
A set of eight high-level principles and 300 detailed criteria covering issues such as security, consumer rights and the prevention of money laundering, financing of terrorism and fraud are some of the requirements.
The criteria complement providers’ compliance efforts, but goes beyond regulation in its detail and scope, defining and promoting industry best practices in detail. Responsible business practices are essential to help regulators achieve their goals around financial inclusion, stability, integrity and consumer protection.
The operational management of the documentation is contracted to an independent scheme operator, Alliances Management, which has responsibility for training and overseeing independent assessors to ensure all assessments are consistent and objective.
The benchmark for achieving certification has been set high to serve as an aspiration to all providers and a pass mark of 100 percent is required.