Rumble in the Jungle – In other words, call it the “Mobile Payments Rumble in the Payments Jungle”. Well, the reference to this boxing match is taken here to depict the current scenario of the payment industry. Payments are becoming more intelligent than the payee. The number of payment service providers we have added to the payment market in the last year and how many we will add in the next 2 years is actually more than the combined numbers of the last 100 years. Payments market transformation is 10x faster to date compared to the last 5 decades. Payment intelligence is a new phenomenon with the introduction of artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, and data science.

This article explores the different payment options and opportunities. This post was originally published on 06-May-2015 on Linkedin (Click here).

In this post, we will not discuss anything about the event that happened in the October 1974 boxing match played in Kinshasa, DRC, better known as “Rumble in the Jungle”. This event went down in history as the most popular and viral event of the 20th century.

Rumble in the Mobile Payment Jungle

Mobile Payments: The Industry is to explode above 3 trillion euros in payments transaction value by 2020, and it’s viral in its true sense. Artificial intelligence and its bundle of technologies like machine learning and neural networks will re-invent FinTech in the next few years to boost mobile payments.

Rumble in the Jungle

Players like ApplePay, Samsung, Alipay, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and many more will define where we are in terms of advancement in the payment space. Also where we are targeting to be. There has been so much jostling and tussling in the payments industry that we think this article should be titled “Rumble in the Mobile Payments Jungle.”

The world should become a cashless society, and that’s my thought process. I know I am not the only one who thinks or dreams along the same lines, and millions of others have said this before.

Some exciting developments in the mobile payment space have put prominence on the most important points, as mobile payments, along with data science and machine learning, are expected to bring about a transformation for the whole of FinTech in the coming years.

Virtual currencies (cryptocurrencies) aim to combine the advantages of direct cash transactions with the power of digital technology. The same question remains unanswered: “Speed to market is the king” for whom, consumers or service providers?

Mobile Payments Industry Explosion to Trillion Euros Forecasting needs revenue models and market strategies that can examine the predominant service and revenue models in the mobile payments arena. Also, how this will fold when this thing gets exposed to new technologies like 5G, etc., as well as the market approach of selected players, in order to identify effective strategies and key success factors

Different Mobile Payment Options

The analysis should prove, show, and build upon in-depth case studies of selected mobile payment services around the world, including Alipay, Apple Pay, Boku, Samsung Pay, Microsoft Pay, Dwolla, LevelUp, RURU, and Paytm.

Rumble in The Jungle

The below analysis tries to brief but not conclude with recommendations on the best strategic approaches to maximize the mobile payments revenue opportunity.

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency created and held electronically. No one controls it—it is a very dangerous payment instrument in some specific countries—known as “a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” is making a huge impact and lots of discussion rounds, but where does it fit in the mobile payment industry of 3 trillion euros by 2020, or does it have its own separate segment on top of the 3 trillion euros stash?

Some background on mobile payments: mobile payments are a new convenient scheme for customers to perform transactions and are predicted to increase as the number of mobile phone users increases. The use of mobile devices to make payments is becoming increasingly common, particularly in Africa and Europe. Mobile payments can be defined as any payment transaction that involves a mobile device. There are a wide range of options available to perform mobile payments due to the availability of network technologies.

Contributing factors/reasons 

The mobile payment industry has emerged over the past few years through the convergence of services provided by financial and mobile network service institutions.

  • Prepaid airtime top-ups through mobile money
  • Loans of airtime through mobile money
  • Along with many players in the payment jungle, it is very easy to conclude that cash is expensive to handle and that checks are due to be phased out very soon. Individuals and corporations need electronic methods of completing payments, most of which will involve mobile technology, which is easy, fast, low-cost, and quick.
  • Smartphones will contribute to and penetrate this area of transactions, and most of the payment services offered will be online, i.e., USSD, SMS, and mobile apps.
  • Utility bill payments are the third most commonly offered product by mobile money providers and represent the second largest contribution to the global product mix by value. Bill payments like water, electricity, internet, gas, and school fees
  • A number of small card readers and associated applications are being developed for smartphones, which means the big and bulky POS machines, which are costly in CAPEX and OPEX, might soon be phased out (not sure).
  • cross-border remittances in under a minute, which should be very cheap and flexible in terms of accessibility.
  • Merchant payments are a very important and crucial key success factor for this 3 trillion euro hot cake.
  • Contactless payment systems based on near-field communication (NFC), QR, or scan codes will contribute and offer a viable alternative for low-value transactions in developed countries.
  • Hospitals, schools, and colleges will need to provide alternative payment technologies as cash, the internet, and checks will be phased out due to speed and cost.
  • Railway stations, bus terminals, movie theaters, game shows, events, and all mass sales need to accept mobile payments.
  • How to ensure all daily sales of water bottles, cokes, and all micropayments come to mobile

Apple Pay has made noteworthy strides in its mobile payment expansion, generating excitement in the market. Nevertheless, the volume of total transactions processed by Apple Pay remains relatively minuscule, and the emergence of competitors such as Facebook and Microsoft presents a formidable challenge. In order to establish a successful enterprise in the crowded market of mobile payments, businesses must adopt a well-planned and thoughtful approach. The origin of the aforementioned data can be attributed to thorough research conducted on both the market and online platforms.

Convergence of MNOs, Banks, and FinTechs

Mobile network service providers, banks, credit and debit card companies, and now BitCoin Critical to the development of the industry has been the creation of technical standards by a number of international standards bodies to enable cross-industry collaboration.

Because of the concern of the financial and telecommunications industries about each other’s encroachment on important new sources of business, key standards have relied upon the development efforts of start-up firms. These firms are independent of both industries and form a catalyst to collaboration and a conduit for mutually acceptable standards formation.

There are a number of best practices to generate consumer uptake of mobile payment services and build transaction volume. Focused on four key elements specific to the end-user and merchant’s value proposition, the use case strategy, and cross-border partnerships, examples here are EcoCash Zimbabwe, World Remit UK, and Western Union. Airtel across Africa has opened cross-border remittances (a few are in flow, and some of them are about to flow).

Rumble in the Payments Market: Examples

Korea has one of the most advanced mobile payments industries after the USA in the world, and a start-up Korean company Theories of industrial development need to account for the importance of start-up firms, which fail yet are critical to the creation of important technologies and standards. The case study shows how the contribution of start-up firms is strongly influenced by specific national and cultural factors. As more technologies emerge, these factors need to be increasingly taken into account in analyses of industrial development.

Dwolla (a United States-only e-commerce company that provides an online payment system and mobile payments network) launched a new feature called “Proxy,” which allows users to send and receive cash-based mobile payments based on their current proximity to another connected device. The technology bypasses the need for special hardware, like Square’s plastic dongles or NFC chips built into a phone, in order to make mobile payments.

Brixton Pound: Businesses across the London district of Brixton were equipped with Bluetooth beacons that allowed residents to make mobile payments using the Brixton Pound, a local currency designed to encourage consumers to spend their money on independent local businesses.

E-Commerce: Payments through Mobile, Internet, and Cards This has vastly transformed the way businesses are transacted these days. Within the past few years, online businesses have grown rapidly, with business-to-consumer electronic commerce (e-commerce) sales growing by 21.1 percent. E-commerce hit US$1 trillion for the first time in 2012, and it is also forecast that the growth of China’s digital shopper will be expanding enormously as the number of people who buy goods online is expected to double between 2012 and 2016.

According to an independent market research company, eMarketer According to data released recently by the China E-Commerce Research Centre (CECRC), e-commerce in China grew by 31.4% last year, reaching a total market value of more than US$2.1 trillion in 2014.

Few Highlights

  • Presently, the major challenge or issue we are facing in the mobile payments market is the high level of market fragmentation, meaning it has a basic flow in terms of usability technology, which is not very friendly with the normal user even though technology should befriend, and secondly, it is defined both by the multiplicity of platforms and solutions technologies being deployed and the increasing range of service configurations being offered. This slows down merchant acceptance and makes it difficult for providers to gain scale. We expect the market to reach a point where consolidation among players and solutions become the best way to address this issue.
  • Mobile money service providers have to take a wide range of approaches (based on the conditions mentioned before) to roll out merchant networks for their mobile payment strategy in their markets. In Indonesia or even the US, what makes sense and works very well will never work in Kenya or Tanzania, as services in the region offering merchant payments issue companion cards to their customers, leveraging the existing payment card industry infrastructure.
  • In Africa (for example, Kenya or Tanzania), where card payments or card penetration or bank penetration is almost zero, most merchants have merchant lines that are separate from their regular lines, and merchant codes are associated with them to accept payments. The interfaces they use again depend on their capability, volume, and business type. Maybe POS, MPOS, a cheap smart phone, or a connection to their PC, and some times even a 30–50 dollar Chinese device meant only for touch and pay capabilities. For example, buying a bottle of water or a pack of cigarettes would be about a 0–3 dollar transaction, or a toll gate fee of 1-2 dollars needs a transaction time of 5–10 seconds.
  • Few central banks observed that under the new regime of mobile payment pricing, transactions conducted through online banking and mobile payment channels will attract the lowest fee, followed by transactions carried out at automated teller machines (ATMs) and lastly transactions performed over-the-counter (OTC). This allows and enforces partnerships with ecosystem participants from all sectors (banks, retail, service providers, and the public sector), which are essential to building a ubiquitous network of acceptance points.

In addition, having a well-defined pipeline of compelling use cases is key for mobile payment providers to leverage the ecosystem to grow their user base and drive transaction volume.

Points to note:

All credits, if any, remain with the original contributor only. In the post above, I covered all the basics around mobile financial services and mobile money and the importance of a quality network (agents, businesses, and distribution). In the next upcoming post, I will talk about implementation. implementation, usage, and practice experience for markets.

Books and other readings Referred

  • Research through the open internet, news portals, white papers, notes made at knowledge sharing sessions, and live conferences and lectures
  • Lab and hands-on experience of @AILabPage (Self-taught Learners Group) members

Feedback and Further Questions

Do you have any questions about AI, machine learning, telecom, data science, or big data analytics? Leave a question in the comment section or ask via email. I will try my best to answer it.


Conclusion: A few vital questions need responses: What is the total strength of the world payment market, irrespective of mode and means?

The use of pool accounts, wallets, and funds is now growing, where people come together and save money for future incidents like funerals, births, medical expenses, or marriage expenses. This helps the lower segment of society to keep running their lives as usual without any problems, but In a pragmatic sense, however, the distinction between shared and secret accounts remains a very real one. Now the question is: can this transaction be part of the same pie?

Posted by V Sharma

A Technology Specialist boasting 22+ years of exposure to Fintech, Insuretech, and Investtech with proficiency in Data Science, Advanced Analytics, AI (Machine Learning, Neural Networks, Deep Learning), and Blockchain (Trust Assessment, Tokenization, Digital Assets). Demonstrated effectiveness in Mobile Financial Services (Cross Border Remittances, Mobile Money, Mobile Banking, Payments), IT Service Management, Software Engineering, and Mobile Telecom (Mobile Data, Billing, Prepaid Charging Services). Proven success in launching start-ups and new business units - domestically and internationally - with hands-on exposure to engineering and business strategy. "A fervent Physics enthusiast with a self-proclaimed avocation for photography" in my spare time.

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