Across the world, financial services delivery and access is undergoing a sea change. Mobile is the new medium, access is the new paradigm and mobile financial solutions are the norm. In both developing markets and the mature ones, this transformation now offers a unique opportunity to businesses – telecom companies, banks or retailers – to re-imagine their digital strategies in tune with an experience-centered world.
Today, mobile financial solutions have emerged as a viable alternative to meet the needs of the banked and the un-banked. Increasing penetration of mobile phones, combined with their ease of use, has enabled markets to evolve beyond basic financial inclusion to offer a full range of integrated services.
Of course, every global marketplace vastly differs in every possible way and so, the need of the hour is providing an appropriate solution to the appropriate target audience. The market itself can be divided into two categories; developing and developed. The mobile payments market got its first real push from the developing markets, as this customer group had very fundamental financial requirements. Using a mobile payments system essentially provided them easy and fast access to their personal accounts. Without such a system in place, they’d still be conducting all financial transactions in cash. Today, the mobile money services space in Africa, for example, is steadily maturing. Of 196 mobile operators, 99 have already launched mobile money services. More importantly, the scope of the service itself has increased tremendously.
In sum, the various flavours of mobile financial solutions broadly include:
P2P services, such as international and domestic money transfers, international remittances, interoperable money transfers, etc.
P2B services, such as post-paid and utility bill payments, recharges for a variety of prepaid services, mobile ticketing services, etc.
B2P services such as bulk disbursements (salaries), dividend payments, etc
P2G, such as payment of taxes and other governmental fees
G2P, including payment of pensions, government salaries, monetary aid, etc
In developed markets, consumers already have a plethora of choices, such as cards, electronic payments, digital payments, access to digital channels, such as the internet, etc. So, services like the wallet have made their debut, which not only provide payments but move beyond it by integrating promotions, loyalty management, social networking, along with payments. Moreover, technologies like Near Field Communications (NFC), BLE, Biometrics, QR Codes, and wearables are disrupting the payments space in a big way. For example, deploying NFC to ease payments, like what Apple Pay is doing today, or get information through QR codes, or get the right discount voucher through a Bluetooth Low Energy beacon will enhance the customer’s experience and put the entire experience into context. This will permit the retailer to visualize a pattern by which one is able to aid the consumer again and help them not only in the purchase journey itself but beyond as well.