Stay ahead of the rest with mobile payments

Luane Swart is the mobile development team leader at MobiMedia. She’s a bit of a gamer at heart and is also passionate about furthering education in South Africa. She takes a look at the mobile payment landscape in SA and how it may affect businesses.

Nielsen’s 2016 mobile shopping, banking and payment survey shows that South Africa’s vast mobile adoption has made consumers here more receptive to making payments, doing banking and shopping on a mobile device.

However, according to Johan Meyer, the CEO of Wallettec which specialises in digital wallet integration in East and Southern Africa, retailers are lagging behind. “The biggest problem currently with mobile payments is the lack of merchants accepting it as payment method.”

If mobile payments can be made more attractive to merchants, they might just convince their customers to switch. SnapScan is a good example of this. They targeted local merchants in Cape Town and offered them a more affordable solution to the traditional card terminals and merchant accounts. In doing so, the merchants advertised to their customers and convinced them to pay using SnapScan.

The mobile payments market is inundated with different payment gateways. Everyone, from big brands like Apple, Microsoft, Google and Samsung, to local telecom companies and banks are trying to sell their solution. This makes it near impossible for merchants to keep up with all the available payment methods.

At MobiMedia, we have been working on a few mobile games which will support mobile payments or in-app purchases as they are globally known. We’re integrated with a third-party provider for the mobile networks.

The ideal is to develop a universal product that works on an international scale, adoption will be much faster and users will gain trust in the product. Take the credit card market for example: There are thousands of different cards in the market, but they are all backed by either MasterCard or Visa. This allows merchants to easily accept them as people build trust in the technology.

More than half of South African respondents in the 2016 Nielsen survey said that they use their mobile device to research a product or service online. One in three participants use a mobile application to make purchases and nearly 40% use their devices to look for deals, make better shopping decisions, or make shopping trips quicker or more efficient. However, 59% of South Africans remain concerned about payment security.

Given that mobile devices in South Africa are a mere 20 years old; it will still take time to convince consumers that this small device will replace their cash and wallet.

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