Whilst at MEF Americas 2011 I was amazed to hear the statistic that around 60 million US citizens are ‘unbanked’… that is ‘without a bank account’. I was aware that many in developing economies chose not to or were unable to access banking services, but author Gary Schwartz explained it was also a widespread – and under reported – issue in the US.
Some – a minority he suggested – choose to avoid the banking system for political reasons but for the remainder the inability to perform cash-less transactions was a source of misery as payments required them to visit service providers or to pay higher charges (such as for utility bills). Gary explained that increasingly mobile devices were being seen as a way to store value and a potential way for even those without bank accounts to perform electronic transactions.
In the video Gary summarises the panel discussion and highlights some broader changes mobile is having on the way consumers interact and buy with mobile. SMS and mobile web – he argues – should be the ‘dominant’ channels because they are so widely used (and loved) by consumers.