Five mobile money providers – Safaricom, Vodacom Tanzania, Tigo Tanzania, Orange Côte d’Ivoire, and Telenor Pakistan – have been certified in the newly introduced GSMA Mobile Money Certification.

According to Nathan Naidoo, interim Head of Mobile Money at GSMA and the Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Mobile Money team in a blog, “The mobile money industry is now processing a billion dollars a day. It’s a serious business, serving hundreds of millions of people. The GSMA Mobile Money Certification reflects this scope and scale, and the responsibilities that come with it.”

“The Certification is a major step forward for the global industry: it is a way to define and promote excellence in risk management. This will lead to greater trust, transparency, and consumer protection for millions.”

“The foundation of the Certification is the 2014 GSMA Code of Conduct for Mobile Money Providers. Four years later, we’ve moved from general overarching principles to nearly 300 detailed and specific criteria against which providers can be independently verified.”

“The Certification is the only global certification scheme designed specifically for mobile money providers. That’s why it is so relevant to the underserved, and why it covers key areas such as distribution networks and feature phones. Importantly, the Certification is not just for mobile operators. Any type of mobile money provider, including banks and over-the-top players, can apply to be certified.”

There are eight principles of the Certification and they comprise detailed criteria against which mobile money providers are measured. They are:

  1. Finance: Safeguard customer funds against the risk of loss
  2. AML/CFT/Fraud: Combat money laundering, terrorist financing and fraud
  3. People: Manage staff, agents, and third parties correctly
  4. Operation: Operate the service well and reliably
  5. Security: Ensure the security of the systems supporting the service
  6. Transparency: Communicate fees, T&Cs and information transparently to customer
  7. Customer Service: Effectively address customer service requests and complaints
  8. Data Privacy: Protect customers’ personal data

He adds that “A professional certification management body oversees the Certification, including deciding and awarding certification status. Their decision is based on an audit by an assessment company with deep experience in emerging markets. The GSMA has no influence over the awarding of certifications.”

This is a welcome development as this helps to create standard guidelines for the growing billion dollar industry.