Jessie J got it right as she sang “its all about da money money money” – I would just add its all about the Mobile Money. This was the hot topic at the latest Mobile Monday event hosted in Johannesburg on the 5th August 2013.
You know the scene: We walk up to the checkout teller at Pick n Pay, they tell us how much we owe, we whip out the phone and tap it on some device and just like that we have made a payment.
Whilst this is technically possible, the reality is that we are still far away from a seamless mobile payment system. This was the topic of Mobile Monday’s evening presentation where VeriFone, Visa, Vodacom and Arthur Goldstuck shared with the 400 or so people the reality of where Mobile Money stands today.
VeriFone has ben around since 1981 where they have developed various electronic payment solutions specifically focusing on the point of sale. These solutions include physical devices and the entire software system to integrate into the company’s point of sale architecture. VeriFone’s tag line “the way to pay” sums up the company’s vision – regardless of the customers Mobile Wallet choice make it simple for customers to pay, on any platform, using any device at any time.
VeriFone is not just talk and hype. In the Demo Room at Mobile Monday fully functioning devices were available for the audience to use and experience the power of Mobile Money. Value added services such as airline and event ticketing as well as hotel accommodation are now possible together with various VeriFone partners.
Dougie Henderson, Head of Emerging Products & Innovation – Africa, Visa Inc. then discussed how Visa sees the convergence of mobile payment methods and how the lines between traditional payment experiences and mobile payments are being blurred. With new technology being so rapidly adopted, there is a change in the way consumers are purchasing. These multi-device-tech-adopters are the ones driving the demand for data, instant info and an alternative payment methods. Consumers are becoming ‘integrated shoppers’ using technology in interconnected ways and expecting merchants to be equally integrated.
Herman Singh from Vodacom, recounts how the Mobile Payment is only in its infancy and shares some lessons from Vodacom’s experiences when it comes to Mobile Money:
•Its about the customer
•Its not about technology
•Its about platforms and partners
•Its about Ubiquitous presence
•Its about Trust
•Its about Value
•Its about the long run
Finally Arthur Goldstuck rounded off the evening by sharing his 10 rules of Mobile Money with specific reference to the M-Pesa service in Kenya:
1. All markets are different – can’t just “copy and paste” a system working fro another country and expect it to seamless just work in another
2. No Alternatives – if there are alternatives to mobile money then the new service must have clear benefits
3. Regulatory openness- M-Pesa was possible in Kenya because Safaricom was granted a special license to operate a non-branch banking service
4. Cross-platform – mobile money needs to work across all devices and all mediums at all times.
5. Culture is key – M-Pesa hit the mark as it had a Swahili brand name, culture of remittances, serving the ordinary people
6. Cost is King – It must be cheaper, easier and more convenient to use than existing alternatives.
7. Be here – it must be available with an extensive network of outlets
8. No Paperwork – Quick registration & easy registration
9. Understand the market – ensure that you understand the market you are targeting and offer mobile money services and products that appeal to them.
10. Do your homework – “Just because you think it’s a great idea doesn’t mean anyone needs it, wants it, or even wants to hear about it.”
So in Summary:
Each country has its own unique circumstances that operators need to be cognisant of before deciding to embark on a mobile money path. Even with the plethora of players in this field, there is no clear winner – there is no magic bullet that is the defecto solution provider. Lots of partners need to work together to make mobile money a reality.