Mobile marketers predicted that 2011 would be the year mobile payments enter their disruptive phase in our region. I wasn’t clear then how true that would be, and in the most unlikely of places. Using mobile and social media the Kenyans for Kenya Initiative reached their target 1BN Kenya Shillings. Kenyans for Kenya, chaired by Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore, was billed as the most successful humanitarian initiative in this country, raising Sh500 million in the first two weeks.
In Haiti, the Red Cross identified a need to use mobile and social technology to give the public a more involved role in disaster response, empowering people to report specific needs and helping aid agencies gather real-time data for response decision-making.
The personal and immediate nature of mobile establishes it as one of the most effective channels for engaging new donors who trend younger, raising money and providing transparency to donors on how their donations are being used. Whereas TEXT2DONATE campaigns are more effective in other regions, for Kenya, fundraising was through the mobile payments service MPESA. Funds were remitted directly to the Kenya Red Cross Paybill number at no extra costs charged to the end –user.
Mobile is not only effective as a transactions platform itself, but as a traffic driver.
So far in this year alone, we have seen dictators overthrown using mobile and social media, following the Tunisian Revolt, and the Egyptian Uprising. Recent riots in the UK were attributed to BBM( Black Berry Messenger )for ease of communicating by the riot organizers.
By 2013 Mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device worldwide. If that does not startle you then this will, the growth rate of the smart phone market is set to be more than 4 times the rate of the overall mobile phone market. Smartphone sales are estimated to surpass computer sales in 2012.
Mobile analysts the world over predicted that 2010 would be the year that mobile banking and payments would grow exponentially. Berg insight, market research predicted that mobile would account for 11.7% of the total digital spend by 2014.
Mobile banking and payments would continue to give global access to under banked and un banked customers. Mobile banking is a useful tool that people take advantage of in their daily lives, and has proved to local banks to be a sticky service that increases customer satisfaction. In Kenya, mobile payments have already impacted the banking industry with M-Pesa’s runaway success on electronic funds transfer area of payments.
This week will see the launch of M-pesa Dstv payments facilitated by leading PRS firm Cellulant Kenya Ltd under their payments brand Lipuka. Cellulant known for its revolutionary ideas and innovations created a multifaceted solution for Multichoice and M-pesa using their commerce 360 solution. Commerce 360 brings under one ecosystem, banks, utilities, merchants, mobile networks and on the other hand the consumer.
Commerce 360 allows end users to create a mobile wallet. A 360 mobile wallet, for mobile banking, utility payments, content billing and mobile money transfers. So what is so revolutionary about Dstv taking up M-Pesa payments through Lipuka ?
The proposition that Lipuka provides the customer is not only payments across multiple wallets, but real time settlements and reconciliations for all parties. Cellulant has integrated with Multichoice Africa to allow customers who pay via banks or M-Pesa, real time reconnection. What that means is that every time you pay for Dstv via M-Pesa or your bank account, you don’t have to call Multichoice to be reconnected! For Multichoice Kenya, every time an M-pesa or bank payment happens, they do not have to take up all the received payments and then manually start to update their records. Commerce 360 does both, real time reconnection and reconciliation.
What i like about this, is that it all started with a mobile proposition. The brief to product design teams at Cellulant was a user experience designed for convenience . The back end of Lipuka is to ensure that the payment reaches the business and the user does not need to follow up to ensure that services are active. This not only happens for the Mpesa payments but for all bank payments that will come on board for improved user access.
This not only improves Multichoice collections, but it eases queues at their offices, for customers who like to make last minute payments. The services goes the extra mile that Mpesa could not, it facilitates service provision to the customer.
Mobile commerce is already taking root in this market, and it will be exciting to see what these players bring to the market in the coming months as the product evolves to suit consumer needs and behavior.