In case you did not know, the leaders of the mobile payment/Mobile Transfer/Mobile Wallet world all reside in Africa. Entrepreneurs and ICT professionals have consistently rolled out innovative solutions to take advantage of this fast growing emerging market.
Mobile Money Overview
Mobile payments have been around for quite some time. In fact, since 1997 you have had the ability to send mobile payments, through SMS based Transactions. SMS based transactions are payments sent through a text message for a service, and you would see the charge on your next telephone bill. Think about all those times you texted a three digit number to win a contest. That was an SMS based transaction. These techniques generally had low reliability, low security and it was also very expensive to set up the codes necessary to receive these payments
Despite all the obvious issues, mobile payment have continued to grow in the emerging markets. Spurred primarily by the fact that almost everybody has affordable access to a mobile phone in Africa, with mobile penetration in some countries as high as 90%! Some local disadvantages have also pushed this innovation. Many countries are still very much cash economies, ie a large number of people (not majority) within the country do not have debit cards, credit cards or even bank accounts. So the mobile payment has become the primary source of making payments. Therefore, it is no surprise that 8 out of the top 10 Mobile markets in the world are in Africa. These include: Kenya, Sudan, Gabon, Algeria, Congo, Somalia, Uganda and Angola. Notably absent from this list is Africa’s most populous nation; Nigeria. This may seem very surprising, but if you understand how expensive cell phone service is in Nigeria you would understand why 🙂
Kenya is the leader thanks in no small part to the extremely successful Mobile Payment System M-Pesa (M stands for mobile and pesa is swahili for Money)
M-Pesa Launched in the 2007, and is without a doubt the leader in Mobile Transfer in the world! With M-Pesa, users can transfer or receive money, and it is as simple as sending a text.
M-Pesa has become so popular in Kenya, that Banks in the region tried and failed to sue the company.
The world has taken note of this successful peer-to-peer model, and many other countries are rolling out their own solutions, examples are mHits in Australia and gcash in the Philippines. Mobile payments have brought about the largest leap in the technology of banking and payments since the credit card and right now Africa is leading the way…………………………….Stay Mobile!
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