In some areas, mobile money solutions provide the only access to financial accounts for half the customer base. But leadership from regulators, the private sector, and international organizations is needed to ensure interoperability and extend financial inclusion to all.

Financial services need to be accessible, affordable, and convenient. Realizing financial inclusion in emerging markets, for the most part, requires providing financial products and services to users in hard to reach areas, in a cost-effective and secure way. Given the high penetration of mobile phones, mobile commerce has been advocated as a means for providing financial inclusion. However, access to mobile services alone will not provide the solution. There must also be a strong regulatory framework for enabling an interoperable ecosystem that allows easy entry by non-traditional authorized financial service providers.

This white paper addresses the importance of considering and potentially mandating interoperability as a means of achieving a vibrant financial ecosystem, which in turn fosters financial inclusion. Addressing the potential concerns of competition while promoting innovation, this paper proposes that an open interoperable system allows traditional and non-traditional authorized financial service providers to quickly launch products and reach new consumer groups, achieving economies of scale and at the same time lowering operating expenditure and start-up costs.

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