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Payments via social media to drive mobile money transfer market to 13bn transactions this year

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A new report from Juniper Research has found that the number of mobile money transfers is expected to increase by nearly 150% in 2015 to more than 13bn, with several social media firms already seeing a dramatic rise in service usage.

The new research, Mobile Money Transfer & Remittances: Domestic & International Markets 2015-2020, observed that with US social payment service Venmo now experiencing traffic worth nearly $1 billion per quarter, leading social media companies were now introducing their own services. Snapchat has partnered with Square to deliver a P2P offering, while Facebook launched a US-wide service last month.

Meanwhile, the research found that in China, both WeChat and Alipay saw astonishing spikes in P2P (Person to Person) traffic during February 2015. This was the result of result of ‘red envelope’ P2P gifting activity when WeChat users engaged in more than 3.3 billion P2P transactions in just 6 days over the Chinese New Year period.

In developing markets, the research found that while airtime top up accounted for the largest share of transactions, there had been a significant increase in the deployment and adoption of services such as micro-lending, savings and micro-insurance. It argued that network operators were well positioned to deliver key data for risk assessment in the form of customer top-up histories, social media usage and location data, which could be subjected to analytics to provide information for credit scoring.

According to research author Dr Windsor Holden: “The beauty of mobile-based microinsurance is that, for the first time, the unbanked can be afforded protection against natural disasters. Without it, a farmer suffering crop failure could lose his livelihood.”

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