Today Barclays launched Pingit, a new service that allows you to send money via your mobile phone to other UK bank accounts. You have to be a Barclays customer to send money. It seems astonishing in 2012 that this is heralded as a, ‘new’ service in the UK. MPesa, has operated very successfully, initially in Kenya, Tanzania and Afghanistan, since 2007.
This film made in 2009 shows the effect M-Pesa has had on the Kenyan population.
It is not technology that has held back the adoption of mobile wallets, it’s the struggle that large, highly profitable organisations have in adopting new ideas. Disruptive innovation will almost always come from organisations that focus on markets and services that are seen as insufficiently profitable for the incumbent players to worry about.
This short summary of the ideas behind Professor Clayton Christensen’s ‘Innovator’s Dilemma’ gives a good overview of the principle in action.
The bigger news today, is that this shows how concerned that banks are not in providing a better service for their customers, but in having their very nice, highly profitable, lunch being eaten by newer, disruptive players in the market. Perhaps mobile money’s time has come. Barclays are far from the only organisation that is waking up to the threat – most of the large banking players are trying to work out what to do but they also have the significant problem of not wanting to disrupt and cannibalise their existing business. Mastercard for example have operated simple phone-based bank accounts in countries such as the Philippines for several years but they are very afraid that by operating these types of service in more developed countries, their existing, highly profitable business will be severely impacted.
We shouldn’t really be thanking Barclays for introducing an innovative service – they are fighting for their lives and trying to do it on their terms. From the look of the comment threads attached to the news reporting, (here for example), people remain sceptical.
The banking and financial services industries are ripe for disruption.
The BLN MiM Forum on March 22nd brings mobile buyers together with companies and investors who are delivering mobile today.
The BLN MiM Forum shows how YOU can make it in mobile today. It’s where corporates with budgets meet businesses that can solve their problems and active investors get stuck in too.
This is not about future-gazing, sales pitches or corporate nonsense. We share actionable ideas for your business today. We want you to leave with at least one idea you will implement in your company within a month.
BLN MiM2012 is different from a lot of mobile events you might have been to. We are not selling speaking slots to sponsors so you end up hearing from people with genuinely valuable, interesting content that will help you define your mobile strategy. Our supporters understand that the best way to grow their businesses is to help grow the industry. We think this approach is unusual, if not unique, in the mobile industry.