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Mobile Banking

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Guest editor Bill Gates
Can mobile banking revolutionize the lives of the poor?
By Ben Popper
We're excited to have Bill Gates as our guest editor in February. Throughout the month, Bill will be sharing his vision of how technology will revolutionize life for the world's poor by 2030 by narrating episodes of the Big Future, our animated explainer series. In addition, we'll be publishing a series of features exploring the improvements in banking, health, farming, and education that will enable that revolution. And while the topics reflect the bets Bill and his wife Melinda are making with their foundation, they've asked us for nothing less than fully independent Verge journalism, which we're more than happy to deliver. Turns out Bill Gates is a pretty confident guy.
Nilay Patel, Editor-in-Chief
In the village of Sori along the banks of Kenya’s Lake Victoria, fishing has long been the lynchpin of the local economy. Jobs here are largely divided by gender: men catch the fish, and the women process the meat, take it to market, and handle finances.
As detailed in a 2012 study from the SIT Graduate Institute, residents of Sori traditionally kept their money at home. Theft was a constant concern, and many of the women interviewed reported their husbands misappropriating their savings. For many, traditional banks were either too far away, or demanded minimum deposits the villagers could not afford.
All that changed in 2007 with the introduction of M-PESA, a mobile service that allows Kenyans to store and transfer their money using only a cell phone. Funds can be exchanged over the network using SMS messages, meaning it works on almost any mobile phone. M-PESA agents spread throughout the country allow users to convert their credit to cash and deposit or…...

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