Cell phones help fuel jump in bank accounts

By Ken Sweet, AP Business Writer:  

"...Sub-Saharan Africa saw big growth as well, fueled by mobile phone-based accounts. These "mobile money" accounts, as they are sometimes known, are tied to a person's cell phone account instead of a bank, and allow users to transfer money to family or businesses.

In countries such as Kenya, roughly three quarters of Kenyans have a mobile money account, and other Sub-Saharan countries like Zimbabwe and Uganda also saw jumps in mobile phone account usage in the last few years. Mobile money accounts also appear to be gaining popularity in other parts of the continent as well, not just East Africa, to places like West Africa.

World Bank experts expect that mobile money accounts will be the primary way to drive the remaining 1.7 billion people without a bank account into financial services. The bank estimates that 1.1 billion of those 1.7 billion unbanked adults have a mobile phone, and could be more easily brought into the financial system."  Continue Reading