Brian Richardson, managing director at mobile banking company Wizzit, told the Digital Services Africa conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, there is a lot of confusion about what mobile money is.
He said: “I think there is probably more hype and nonsense spoken about mobile money than anything else in the world.
“Expectations are being built and stakeholders are getting disenchanted.”
Richardson believes the attempted collaborations between operators and banks will be fatal due to their cultural differences.
Sceptical about its success in emerging markets, Richardson called the notion “a marriage made in hell”.
Although acknowledging the failure of previous attempts, Lowell Campbell, banking agent at Standard Bank South Africa, disagrees about the impossibility of a synergy.
He pointed to the successful M-Shwari product, the result of a partnership between Safaricom and the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) in Kenya, as a success story, with top up mobile airtime expected to be the next bet on success in the space.
“People are sort of courting each other from Safaricom and banks and seeing if there is a little place there,” Campbell said.
Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, the role of the regulator and the issue of loan responsibility are other obstacles to overcome.