At its most basic, mobile payment can refer to any payment service operated under financial regulation and performed from a mobile device. This replaces the need to pay someone with cash, credit cards, or, if you really want to go old school, a cheque. But why is this technology so important in the digital age?
Simply put, the mobile-driven nature of business (and society in general) has resulted in an environment that not only enables these kinds of solutions, but one in which mobile payment solutions are expected by companies and consumers alike.
Of course, mobile payment solutions are hardly a new concept in developing countries. In Africa in particular, these alternatives provide not only a secure and effective way for people to pay for goods and services, but also provide an innovative means to reach the large uncarded population on the continent.
Mobile payments empower consumers to perform micro-transactions and enable merchants to benefit from increased sales, as there typically is no limit on how little a person can pay. For example, just imagine a fresh produce vendor being able to sell an apple or a bunch of bananas for a few rands, and not having to worry about managing cash. From a security and safety perspective, this cannot be faulted.
This innovation is not only limited to mobile solutions but also includes alternative digital ones as well. For example, instant EFT more than proved its worth during the recent Black Friday campaign when more traditional payment methods could not meet demand. Digital alternatives will help shape the e-commerce environment in the months ahead.
According to the 2017 Digital Payments Study, digital wallets have become one of the hottest discussion points on social media when it comes to payment methods, accounting for 75% of conversations on the topic. Furthermore, the global mobile wallet market is expected to reach more than $3 trillion by 2022, up from approximately $594 billion in 2016.
Near field communications (NFC) and remote payments will be the two driving forces behind this growth. Merchants and consumers must embrace these sooner rather than later if they are to remain relevant in this evolving digital marketplace. Irrespective of the method employed, mobile payments represent a shift in how merchants and consumers will interact and engage with one another for products and services.
As far as point-of-sale (PoS) goes, the growth of mobile and digital payment options has enabled PoS to be adopted by merchants beyond the traditional bricks and mortar market. This includes everyone from trade shows and markets to food trucks, concerts, and even mobile food stalls.
Payments will increasingly be done differently in 2019 as people demand an experience that integrates smoothly with their mobile lives. Whether it is pure mobile (from a device and app perspective) or digital (visiting a site or using an instant EFT type offering), the transactional process is irrevocably changing. People want real-time solutions that are available when it suits them using their preferred device irrespective of where they are.