Temporary Citation: Donner, Jonathan and Tellez, Camilo. (2008). “Mobile banking and economic development: Linking adoption, impact, and use”, Asian Journal of Communication, 18(4), 318-322. Abstract Around the globe, various initiatives use the mobile phone to provide financial services to those without access to traditional banks. Yet relatively little scholarly research explores the use of these m-banking/m-payments systems. This paper calls attention to this gap in the research literature, emphasizing the need for research focusing on the context(s) of m-banking/mpayments use. Presenting illustrative data from exploratory work with small enterprises in urban India, it argues that contextual research is a critical input to effective “adoption” or “impact” research. Further, it suggests that the challenges of linking studies of use to those of adoption and impact reflect established dynamics within the Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD) research community. The paper identifies three crosscutting themes from the broader literature—amplification vs. change, simultaneous causality, and a multidimensional definition of trust—each of which can offer increased theoretical clarity to future research on m-banking/m-payments systems. Notes on contributors Jonathan Donner is a researcher in the Technology for Emerging Markets Group at Microsoft Research, where he studies the social and economic impacts of mobile communication technologies in developing countries. Camilo Tellez is a doctoral student in the department of Information Systems at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he specializes in IT for development issues.
Pre-publication draft. Edits possible. © 2008 Asian Media and Information Center
The spread of mobile phones across the developing world is one of the most remarkable technology stories of the past decade. Buoyed by prepay cards and inexpensive handsets, hundreds of millions of first-time telephone owners have made voice calls and text messages part of their daily lives. However, many of these same new mobile users live in informal and/or cash economies, without access to financial services that others take for granted. Indeed, across the developing world, there are probably more people with mobile handsets than with bank accounts (Porteous, 2006). Various initiatives use mobile phones to provide financial services to “the unbanked.” These services take a variety of forms—including long-distance remittances, micropayments, and informal airtime bartering schemes—and go by various names, including mobile banking, mobile transfers, and mobile payments. Taken together, they are no longer merely pilots; in the Philippines, South Africa, Kenya, and elsewhere, these services are broadly available and increasingly popular. Scholarly research on the adoption and socioeconomic impacts of m-banking/mpayments systems in the developing world is scarce (Maurer, 2008). Even less attention has been paid to the social, economic, and cultural contexts surrounding the use of these systems. This paper‟s goals are threefold: first, it calls attention to this gap in the research literature and emphasizes the need for research focusing on the context(s) in which m-banking/m-payments systems are used. Second, it argues that, to the extent it helps reveal the myriad social, technological, and economic influences on use, this contextual research is...