A study released by Juniper Research this week credits mobile payments with driving financial inclusion in emerging markets such as India.

The new research forecasts that mobile transactions from unbanked individuals will grow from 1.8 billion to 3.8 billion per year in the next five years. It also described markets such as India and Kenya as “core incubator markets for merchant services.”

Mobile payments increase access to financial services by reducing the need for infrastructure such as point-of-sale terminals, the firm said. Solutions involving mobile phones have made the process of paying and accepting payments more efficient.

The research points to efforts from Mastercard – its QR code solution and drive to connect 40 million micro and small merchants to its network by 2020 – as important innovations in this space.

“Previously merchant payments relied upon SMS to facilitate transactions, with customers texting a code to initiate payment; thus the process was slow and inefficient. With QR code solutions, shoppers simply scan a merchant code to rapidly initiate the payment process,” Lauren Foye, the author of the research, said in a press release.

As PaymentFacilitator has previously reported, card brand initiatives to widen electronic payments distribution – including Mastercard’s “40 million new merchants” goal – represent significant opportunity for payment facilitators.

Even as tools such as QR codes simplify the process, getting any solution into the market requires payments expertise and local connections, the network told PaymentFacilitator. PFs provide relevant solutions and can give more robust support to the new entrants, who often have little experience with electronic payments.

Beyond mobile phone penetration, government policies in India have also been geared to creating an environment where digital payment innovation can thrive. This has further enabled PFs to create solutions geared specifically to the market there.