Financial Services

Mobile Payments – Need, Opportunity or Myth

This post comes out of my project work we did for online course in Technical Entrepreneurship at Stanford University through Novoed. I was the team leader based in Harare Zimbabwe and there were 2 more team members 1 from Netherlands and 1 from Denmark. Our project was focused on Mobile payments. We concluded there is clearly an opportunity for mobile payments in Western European countries and in Africa. Our sample group was not that high but some general trends were visible.

Consumers want to pay quickly, easily and at  low costs in a very safe, secured and private environment. Prior to a using a cashless payment instrument, the user requires a basic level of understanding and trust of the system. When it comes to running an online business, the most important question is “How will my customer pay me?” If you unable to answer to that question, then you may as well close shop and go home.

We did 15 interviews in 3 different countries (Denmark, Netherland and Zimbabwe). As a conclusion while sharing our experience within team we saw clear & visible line for emotions, which were different for different people, regions and geographies. An interesting finding is the need to add context to payments, e.g. subject or photo. Privacy and security was flagged as important by the majority of respondents. However this was expected. The mobile payments platform usually allows various users to access services via multiple channels like Web, Mobile App, POS, USSD, NFC, QR Codes and SMS etc.

Against escalating security threats on mobile payments, empowerment of merchants, acquirers, and service providers with new commerce opportunities and experiences in store and protection is highest priority or should be highest priority for any mobile payment solution system. Passwords and fingerprint access on mobile phones add another layer of protection compared with credit cards, which can often be used by thieves with little to deter them. Most digital payment applications follow the same multi-layer security standards as the credit-card industry.

Mobile Pay

Main Story: Initially everyone assumed that Mobile payments are only for emerging markets. Users/ students also described how they have seen the shift of messaging apps to payments / money transfer apps demonstrated by social media companies (What’s app, Facebook or twitter) are jumping in and messaging apps becoming payment tools. We have got virtualisation of real wallets that holds not only cash , credit cards, debit cards , store value cards but also banks accounts direct access.

Now at the time of payment you got choice in hand set to pay for the service via any option. Mobile payments generally refer to payment services operated under financial regulation and performed from or via a mobile device. Because of enormous growth  and potential growth that mobile devices are presenting to the world; we can expect to see the mobile payments industry and startups in the space evolve to meet the growing demands of users. Depending on the application, you may be able to make electronic purchases at a store or online, make or receive payments to or from an individual. Mobile-payment apps are tied to a bank account, a debit card, a credit card, or a balance within the app.

Handphone-2Is it not great that you dont need to carry heavy and bulky wallets and no chance of losing any money of item. Our life as consumer has changed very on very vast level. We have flexibility now to choose and use mobile wallet by keeping all plastic cards, bank details, mobile and mobile money details through various interfaces like NFC, QR code , Inter or mobile handset it self  and making payment is so easy and secured which was never before and now we can even set reminders for our payments or setup our standing payment orders from  mobile app our self and remove them when we want . Consumer today are in full control very powerful. To understand how big this industry is going to be, we need to understand the history of mobile payments and their evolution over time.

During interview with real customer he mentioned during  with interviewer that each mobile app available in market is different and also all mobile payment systems are different with different features and supports different markets and needs. A system designed in China or in Chinese market will never work in Latin America etc so same way Facebook app, Whats app, Alipay app can not do the same job is yes. No system can wait for another system to do something first to see the results and learn out it like we say.

Never blind trust or get over confident on any situation like I was reading some story on internet in which some body said on upper side of Titanic (While it was sinking), if we are sinking why are we hundreds of feet above water then. Some of the best deals around discounts and loyalty-point schemes should appear in mobile payments market as marketers embrace this new way to engage customers. Before using a mobile-payment app, be sure you fully understand how the app works, the security protections it offers, and all fees that may be involved.

Money in MobileMobile payments can be defined as any payment transactions, whether in close proximity or remote. Payments can happen through Internet, proximity technologies charge back or can be executed on mobile devices. Mobile payments market potential, as well as the different trends in business models and technologies that are shaping the global payments and mobile payments evolution are visible as opportunities to be taken up. Decision makers in banks and other financial or even out side traditional financial institution services firms may use these insights to develop actionable plans to seize the opportunity. it’s that we prefer payments that are convenient and transactional.

There is no doubt that mobile payments are becoming increasingly popular and will take over major chunk of payment pie in coming years. The mobile market shows no signs of slowing down, as billions of people around the world own a smartphone.

One of our interviewee made a very interesting remark to us “I cant sit and relax to see what god has decided for me as you never know may be god is also relaxed and waiting to see what I have decided to do for my self”. So in short he mentioned I wants to see more, better cheaper options to make use of for his day-to-day needs of payments. The initial prototype idea was too general (as seen in our BMC). With the knowledge of know we would suggest building a more lean product focused towards a specific group of customers.

The idea and concept is not new, however it is very promising when targeting the right niche and addressing the right issues customers are facing. Merchants looking to build their brand image, increase ticket size and drive throughput can provide their customers with the possibility to tap or wave their card at a reader and speed through the payment process. Fees vary depending on the app, the transaction, and whether funds are moving in or out of your bank account, a debit card, or a credit card.

We have many payment channels as on date i,e Contactless or tap payment, Text message or email money transfer, Quick response or QR payment, In-app purchase but each of them comes with its own risk and issues of making mobile payments. Be alert for fraud when making mobile payments. Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices may expose you to identity fraud and fraud from malicious software. This software, also known as “malware”. Malware can access your data without your knowledge or consent. Financial malware specifically targets the financial sector. It allows hackers to capture information about your financial transactions.

This may include your login information and account numbers. The introduction of mobile wallets is shaking things up for businesses, people, and credit cards. In 2015, $214 billion was transferred through mobile devices. There is definitely a lot to consider when it comes to these new changes like security. It is also wise to come up with better ways to protect mobile devices since so much depends on them now, but there is no denying that these changes are here to stay and will continue to evolve.

Conclusion: In conclusion we agreed that where do we go when the era of Central Banking dies? Because it’s about to die — by decentralize organisms that are dynamically scalable and software that can be modified. We are very confident that software systems can and do adoption jobs dynamically. As mobile payment systems head toward primetime, we could be witnessing the beginning of a profound shift in payment culture. As mobile payments evolve, technology providers and financial institutions are working on ways to enhance security and boost customer trust. Precautions include adding new layers of fraud protection, such as tokenization’s, where transactions can be completed without sharing sensitive data like a credit card number and its expiration date.

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