The 2017 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project (FDIP) report evaluates access to and usage of affordable financial services by underserved people across 26 geographically, politically, and economically diverse countries. The report assesses these countries’ financial inclusion ecosystems based on four dimensions of financial inclusion: country commitment, mobile capacity, regulatory environment, and adoption of selected traditional and digital financial services. The report further examines key developments in the global financial inclusion landscape, highlights selected financial inclusion initiatives within the 26 FDIP countries over the previous year, and provides targeted recommendations aimed at advancing financial inclusion.
On May 15, 2013, Indonesia’s three major mobile operators—Telkomsel, Indosat and XL—went live with a ground-breaking initiative that enabled their mobile money customers to send and receive money across each other’s networks. This was a milestone in the mobile money industry. for the first time, mobile money platforms run by mobile operators could talk to each other—account to account, or “walletto- wallet”—in real time.
In most countries with mobile money deployments, money sent to a customer on a different mobile network generates a voucher that can only be cashed out at an agent in the sender’s network. Sending money “off-net” results in a cash-out, missing the opportunity to trigger additional electronic transactions. Until recently, mobile money customers in Indonesia were in the same boat.
However, the three main operators in Indonesia announced a new development in May 2013 to change this. Today, a mobile money customer can use the money in their e-wallet not only to pay a bill, buy airtime or transfer money to another customer in their network, but also to send money directly to an account, or m-wallet, in a mobile money scheme of another network.
In this case study, MMU provides a snapshot of the implementation of mobile money interoperability in Indonesia–specifically, how it came to be that three independent mobile operators worked together to make real-time transfers across their mobile money deployments a reality.