Where mobile devices have made up for inadequate infrastructure in the developing world, allowing users better access to markets and other services, mobile money can bridge an important gap in finance. M-PESA, launched in 2007 in Kenya, enables some 7 million users to transmit money via text -- typically, allowing young urban workers to send money home to their families in rural districts. Mobile money is faster, cheaper and more reliable than transmitting cash via bus routes or driving long distances to engage banks.

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