Survey Finds 80% Prefer Cash Over Mobile Money

March 22, 2012

Fiji is very much a cash based society with people preferring the “touch and feel” exchange rather than electronic payments. This is evident from recent findings from the Mobile Money Omnibus Survey by Tebbutt and Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) which was conducted in December last year where 80% of the respondents preferred to trade with cash than other forms of payments. 
The objective of the survey was to analyze the factors that prevent people from using mobile money services and gauge customer’s perceptions and their reluctance to use services like Digicel Mobile Money and Vodafone’s MPAiSA.
Amongst other findings, other highlights include: less than 50% trust this mobile money service and 37% ranked information as a persuading factor to use this service.  Most felt that there is no need for them to use the service and lack of information and knowledge was an inhibiting factor in using the service.

“I need to know how it works!” “How does it benefit me?”  “Show it and I will use it!” These were feedback generated from households who participated in this survey.
It was interesting to note that respondents identified community training and bringing agents closer to home as influential factors in using these services.

Presenter, PFIP’s Technical Analyst, Mr. Ramanathan Subramanian expressed, “Mobile money cannot be sold as a mass product unlike airtime. Active customer usage and retention is possible through positive demonstration effects or ‘below the line marketing’.” Below the line marketing is a common technique used for touch and feel products to highlight features of the product and for marketers to establish a one to one relationship with their customers.

As the survey showed, there was a great gap between awareness and action. While 90% of the MM users were aware of ‘send money’ transactions only 34% ever sent money once. Though people were aware of the product, they were not compelled to use the service as they did not feel the need to use it. Therefore, it is important to adopt an AIDA (awareness, interest, desire and action) approach and target those customers who are suffering from the most acute “pain points”, as those customers are most likely to be convinced that mobile money will fulfill their needs.

Mr. Subramanian added, “It is important to market mobile money’s primary benefit that aligns with customer preference – be it convenience, safety, price or speed of service. 43% of users in the survey cite ‘convenience’ and 37% cite ‘saves time’ as the biggest advantage of using mobile money. For e.g. a farmer in Savusavu would find mobile money services very essential as the charges would be less than what he would incur in transportation costs.” 
Mobile Money service is a value added service unlike airtime, therefore it is critical to identify those client segments that are in utmost need of the product, and understand what drives customer behavior and choices.

The Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) is a Pacific-wide programme helping to provide sustainable financial services to low income households. It is a joint project of the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and has received additional funding support from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the European Union. The programme is based at the UNDP Pacific Centre in Suva Fiji.