The future of payments ecosystems is taking shape in Africa as the continent paves the way for innovation that brings together retail, banking, financial services and mobile technology. It's being fueled by a drive for financial inclusion - new ways to bring consumers, merchants and entrepreneurs into the formal economy.
"A huge advantage is that in Africa, mobile technology is already a given and a great enabler for payments," says Hannalie Marsh, general manager of Wirecard South Africa.
She says there is a great demand in Africa for cross-border payments and a need to regulate the payment industry on the continent while at the same time opening it up to include non-banks.
"Across the world, the payments industry is being compelled by regulation to become more inclusive. Retailers and fintech organisations, for example, are being encouraged to provide services historically only associated with banks.
"Traditional banking is expensive and alternatives that keep costs down have to be found, particularly in developing and emerging economies," says Marsh.
To enable higher levels of financial inclusion across Africa, banks and payments companies must drive solutions allowing small and informal merchants to accept digital payments at a lower cost...
2 Aug 2018
A consolidated platform
She believes a combination of technology, banking and retail on a single, consolidated platform, would solve many challenges.
"Already we are seeing a collaboration between some banks and innovative fintech companies. Banks are just not agile enough to tackle rapid tech development and a large continent like Africa on their own. This is one of the reasons retailers have been so successful in the remittances space – they have outlets in places in remote regions that will never see a bank branch."
"All these parties are fairly protective of their own space but by contributing what they have – a wide physical outlet network, technology and payments systems, for example, they can collaborate. This way they reach more people and reduce costs. The mobile component is also a significant factor because of its ubiquity on the continent," says Marsh.
She adds that another big drive globally is for a single digital platform to provide multiple services using the same technology and infrastructure.
"The minute you can offer multiple services off the same infrastructure you can reduce costs dramatically. We have the ability to provide solutions to both individuals and businesses on the same platform which means we can give a set of diverse services to both parties."
The use of mobile devices to make retail and store payments will act as a driver for financial inclusion of the unbanked in emerging markets...
14 Aug 2018
Learning from Africa
"It's particularly relevant in African economies. Take the example of an informal trader: a single system that offers them the ability to accept and make payments solves not only their payment challenges but also those of the supplier and customers – everybody wins. The single source – typically accessed by mobile devices – helps build trust around payments and innovation can be applied everywhere those conditions exist.”
Marsh says there is a lot to be learnt from Africa around technology and innovation and how to overcome difficult environments and situations.
“Just as much as we consume the innovation and expertise we glean from global colleagues, so we too bring expertise to the rest of the world. We get to showcase all the things that happen here in Africa which can seem a daunting place to others, but we are taking some of that to the global stage through partnerships and by exposing what we do locally. We are able to develop and improve payment technologies in Africa and apply that expertise elsewhere in the world,” concludes Marsh.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Message Board accepts no liability of legal consequences that arise from the Message Boards (e.g. defamation, slander, or other such crimes). All posted messages are the sole property of their respective authors. The maintainer does retain the right to remove any message posts for whatever reasons. People that post messages to this forum are not to libel/slander nor in any other way depict a company, entity, individual(s), or service in a false light; should they do so, the legal consequences are theirs alone. Bizcommunity.com will disclose authors' IP addresses to authorities if compelled to do so by a court of law.