Mobile Financial Services Seminar

As mobile phones spread around the world, with now nearly 80 percent of the population having access to mobile service, people devised an array of practices that sometimes escaped industry or regulatory attention. The advent of mobile money transfer and savings services by telecommunications companies and some banks can clash with these ad hoc, existing arrangements - from cell-phone sharing to SIM-card swapping, various forms of cash pooling and airtime arbitrage.

This presentation provides an overview of some of the unexpected things people around the world do with cash and coin, the unanticipated functionalities they have discovered in mobile phones, and the collision of money and mobiles represented by "mobile money." It reflects on the challenges this collision poses for regulation and consumer protection and looks at some existing and proposed solutions to these challenges.

About the Speaker

Bill Maurer, PhD, is Professor of Anthropology and Law, and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, at the University of California, Irvine. He is also the Director of the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion, a research center devoted to understanding people’s existing monetary ecologies and the impact of new technologies, including mobile phone enabled money transfer and savings services. He has published six books and over 50 research articles for academic, industry and regulatory audiences. His research focuses on the interaction between financial systems and people’s everyday social and cultural uses of money. He also has a strong interest in user-driven innovation and the unexpected affordances of mobile devices. His work has received major awards from professional organizations ranging from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology to the Association for Computing Machinery. He is currently conducting research under a grant from the US National Science Foundation on emerging regulatory framework for mobile financial services. He received his BA from Vassar College and his MA and PhD from Stanford University.

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