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AfricaMoney | September 22, 2017

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2015 to mark the year of mobile payments

2015 to mark the year of mobile payments

Mobile payments are rapidly gaining ground with their multifaceted usage and today 1 billion of the world’s 2.5 billion unbanked people have access to a mobile phone to make payments. ( )

2015 can easily be declared the year of mobile payments. What with Facebook announcing the option to send money to friends via Messenger and Apple releasing its Apple Pay mobile payments and digital wallet service last year, this is the year that mobile payments have truly taken off.

Mobile payments encompass Google Wallet Master Pass, Visa, Apple Pay and much more.

From Paraguay to Pakistan, mobile money is rapidly gaining ground. In Kenya, PESA – a payment platform with multifaceted options – today accounts for 66% of transaction volumes processed through the national payments system with around $1.2 billion worth of transactions being processed monthly.

Mobile Money – an Unconventional Wallet

Why is this the case? Unlike ‘mobile wallets’, mobile money isn’t linked to any bank account. Rather, mobile money is electronic value stored in an account linked to your mobile number that works on USSD (or, Unstructured Supplementary Services Data) and simple STK technology, also known as  SIM Application ToolKit technology, in  basic ‘feature phones’.

A towering 1 billion of the world’s 2.5 billion unbanked people have access to a mobile phone. This changes things with mobile money now having 103 million active users around the world and 261 mobile money services across 89 countries worldwide covering nearly two-thirds of the developing world as per GSMA figures.

Pioneering Innovation in Financial Services

Today with EcoCash Mobile Money, farmers in Zimbabwe can insure their crops against drought or excessive rainfall through EcoFarmer, thus mobile money goes beyond simple peer-to-peer payments and retail, to encompass even traditional sectors such as agriculture.

Other such brilliant innovations are transforming the  financial services era, but there’s still a long way to go. Regulatory barrier are certainly making things tougher in most economies, but in some countries, like in India, the Central Bank recently made a landmark decision to allow non-bank entities to offer mobile financial services, in the greater interest of financial inclusion.

Unprecedented Growth

Institutions, and even governments, see the benefits of mobile money, particularly as a payments channel for their services. Indeed today, in Sub-Saharan Africa, salary payments are one of the biggest institutional uses for mobile money.

Originally spun off from airtime top-up platforms, mobile money provides a ready network infrastructure for enabling transactions between different systems, including APIs and other add-on capabilities.

International Opportunity

The next stage is to allow users to transfer money across regional borders, as currently mobile money is fundamentally a domestic phenomenon.

Facts show that Milwaukee and Boise represent some of the largest numbers of senders to Africa and beyond, making people realise the importance of 24-hour service availability at the touch of a screen.

The global mobile payments revolution is not on its way. It is already here! Get on the bandwagon today and gear up your company for mobile payments.


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