What Africa Can Teach Us About the Future of Banking

M-Pesa’s success reflects its simplicity: To transfer money, you need only the creditor’s phone number Photograph by Benedicte Desrus/AP Photo

In the six years since Kenya’s M-Pesa brought banking-by-phone to Africa, the service has grown from a novelty to a bona fide payment network. Unlike in the U.S., where mobile banking demands an app (or three), a smartphone, and a high-speed Internet connection, more than 55 million Africans use basic mobile phones to transfer money from one person to another, take out insurance policies, and collect payment from government agencies.

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