Digital wallets like Mobile Money had been named as one of the top 15 disruptive innovations that will change the world in 2021.
This is contained in ARK Invest’s annual Big Ideas report for this year.
ARK began publishing Big Ideas in 2017. It is an annual research report which seeks to highlight the latest developments in innovation and offers some of the most provocative research conclusions for the year.
ARK estimates that digital wallets represent a $4.6 trillion opportunity in everyone’s pocket in the US alone, pointing mobile money platforms, cash Apps and various fintech startups which are likely to topple traditional banking by activating the banks branches on mobile phones in people’s pockets.
According to ARK’s research, digital wallets are valued between $250 and $1,900 per user today but could scale to $20,000 per user, representing a $4.6 trillion opportunity in the US by 2025.
The company references China as the best example of digital wallet adoption. Per ARK: The volume of mobile payments in China has exploded more than 15-fold in just five years, from roughly $2 trillion in 2015 to an estimated $36 trillion, nearly three times the size of China’s GDP in 2020.
Again, in the US, digital wallet users are surpassing the number of deposit account holders at the largest financial institutions. Square’s Cash App and PayPal’s Venmo each amassed roughly 60 million active users organically in the last 7 and 10 years, respectively, a milestone that took J.P. Morgan more than 30 years and five acquisitions to reach.
Customer acquisition cost less
The most important takeaway here is that digital wallets can acquire customers for a fraction of banks’ customer acquisition cost.
According to ARK’s research, compared to the roughly $1,000 that a traditional financial institution might pay to acquire a new checking account customer, digital wallets invest only $20 thanks to viral peer-to-peer payment ecosystems, savvy marketing strategies, and dramatically lower cost structures.
Given the rising cost of bank branches, the benefits of mobile banking and digital wallets is key to offset expenditures and also deliver a more seamless user experience.
ARK highlights a potential sizable risk to traditional banks. According to ARK estimates, bank interest income on credit cards fell more than 10%, or roughly $16 billion in 2020 and is likely to drop more than 25% further, from $130 billion in 2019 to $95 billion by 2025.
ARK also estimates that at maturity, each digital wallet user could be worth about $20,000. If digital wallets were to become consumer financial dashboards, ARK estimates that the net present value associated with their financial service revenues will exceed $10,000 per average US user.
According to ARK’s research, if each of the estimated 230 million US digital wallet users were valued at $19,900 in 2025, the US digital wallet opportunity would be worth $4.6 trillion.
Mobile Money in Ghana
Indeed in Ghana, mobile money, run mainly by the telecom operators, forms an overwhelming chunk of digital wallets, accounting for more than 16 million wallets nationwide.
Other players in the mobile money space include Zeepay, GMoney, which belongs to GCB Bank and the yet to be launched YUP, which belongs to Societe Generale (another bank).
Government has been boasting of having created over 15 million bank accounts in the hands of Ghanaians via mobile money and that figure are far bigger than banks accounts in all the traditional banks put together.
Beside mobile money, there are several other digital wallet platforms such as Easypay, Hubtel, Etranzact and others, which allow users to store electronic money for payments, except they do not offer banking services like interests on balance, loans, investment opportunities and other services like the MoMo platforms do.
As Ghana undertakes a digital agenda, of which cashless transaction is the bedrock, mobile money is well in the lead of that charge with over 150,000 merchant outlets across the country, which makes them way more accessible than the traditional banks.
Indeed, throughout the period of COVID-19, mobile money has enable Ghanaians in general to transact businesses with convenience and safety, as people are able to buy and sell good and or services and make or receive payments via mobile money.
Ghana is the first to build a mobile money interoperability platform in Africa, and on that platform the growth has been exponential. At the close of year 2020, the interoperability platform recorded over 360% growth transaction volumes and an equally huge growth in value.
Today in Ghana, many more people prefer electronic/digital payments to physical payment for goods and service particularly because it is safer under Covid-19, and the prospects for Ghana reaching a fully-fledge cashless society has gone even higher.