IN a strategic move aimed at strengthening the adoption of mobile money in emerging markets and other parts of the world, MasterCard and leading Value Added Service provider, Comviva, have announced a global initiative called the MasterCard Mobile Money Partnership Programme targeted at helping the over 2.5 billion financially underserved consumers gain access to formal financial services through their mobile phones.The strategy, according to MasterCard, will also see it working with Sybase 365 and Utiba to enable consumers to purchase goods and services via their mobile phones at millions of physical and online merchants worldwide, as well as transfer funds and pay bills.MasterCard explained that Mobile money addresses the needs of consumers in developing markets through a readily accessible device, the mobile phone, while noting that only about half of the world's households have bank accounts ' and an even lower proportion in developing countries ' seven out of 10 people worldwide have a mobile phone.Already, a Juniper Research had projected the combined market for all types of mobile payments to reach more than $600 billion globally by 2013, double the current figure.Speaking on the new development, Group Executive, Mobile, MasterCard Worldwide, Mung Ki Woo said the progamme would deepen penetration.'With about five billion mobile phone users worldwide, this programme provides powerful, smart and convenient new payment options to people through a device that's already in the palm of their hands today.'Our approach is to work with all leading players in the Mobile Money ecosystem to bring the benefits of electronic payments to those, who otherwise wouldn't have access to formal financial services. Comviva, Sybase 365 and Utiba are key strategic platform partners to help implement this vision.'According to him, currently, there are nearly 170 mobile money services that are operational or being launched around the world. These stored value accounts, primarily managed by mobile network operators and supported by banks, offer basic services such as mobile top-up, bill payments and P2P payments within the network.'By working with Comviva, Sybase 365 and Utiba, the first companies to join the program, MasterCard is helping mobile network operators and financial institutions accelerate and expand the development of their financial services offerings to their customers,' Woo said.Commenting on this partnership program, CEO, Comviva, Manoranjan Mohapatrasaid, 'as a dominant player in the mobile financial industry, Comviva has an enviable position of scale and global reach in the emerging markets. This makes us an unequivocal partner of choice for MasterCard to launch its mobile money partnership program. This partnership programme will also provide the right impetus to foster financial inclusion globally.'To the Senior Vice President of mCommerce, Sybase 365, Matthew Talbot, 'this relationship between Sybase 365 and MasterCard furthers our ability to open 'closed' loop Mobile Money deployment and further the Mobile Money ecosystem around the world.'As a lead preferred partner with MasterCard, we will demonstrate our expertise in bringing operators and financial institutions together to create mobile financial services solutions that reach millions around the world.''The partnership with MasterCard is a key part of our Converging Payments strategy, which calls for the intersection of mobile wallet networks with card based payment networks. We are extremely confident that this joint initiative will accelerate financial inclusion of the underserved. Expanding our customers' national mobile wallet systems to access MasterCard's ubiquitous payment network will allow the previously underbanked to participate in the global economy,' mentioned Richard Matotek, co-CEO and co-founder of Utiba. Click here to read full news..