What are Mobile Payments?
Whether it is to book travel, buy online, pay back loans, or send money to friends and family, payments need to be made. Mobile payments make that process efficient and effective. Instead of cash and credit cards, mobile payments allow customers to use a mobile device, which they carry everywhere, to pay for goods and services.
In the African travel industry, mobile payments simplify the reservation process by enabling users with a mobile money account in any country instantly make travel purchases in their own and other countries.
Benefits of Mobile Payment Solutions
Ability to Provide Financial Services
Mobile payments are great solution for providing financial services to the unbanked population of the world (estimated at 50% of the world’s adult population, according to Financial Access’ 2009 Report “Half the World is Unbanked”). Because 70% of Africa now has mobile phones and banks in this part of the world are inaccessible to most of the population, mobile payment solutions are an effective way to supply the banking services needed by the people.
People can now easily book hotel rooms in Kenya or Zanzibar whether they have a credit card or not.
Mobile Money is Convenient
Mobile payments are convenient for users because they take advantage of technology that is always with them: their mobile phones. Today’s world sees customers abandoning credit cards in favor of mobile phones.
Mobile payments are also convenient for sellers: set-up is quick and simple, mobility allows sellers to accept payments away from their primary business location, the conversion rate is five times higher than credit card payments, and sometimes, it is even less expensive than regular credit card transactions.
Both the buyer and the seller benefit from the powerful security of mobile payments. The mobile phone has security functionalities that provide authentication capabilities and passwords and GPS functionality add layers of security that are not present in standard payment processing options.
Customers can easily access deals and promotions that are targeted to them at the place and time they need them and businesses can benefit from the automated social aspect of check-ins, shares, and tweets when a user makes a mobile payment.
Types of Mobile Payment Solutions
Direct Mobile Billing Options
Popular for many features, such as: two-factor authentication security, convenience, speed, and a proven track record, direct mobile billing is gaining traction and success in e-commerce. Simply offered as another payment option at checkout (along with credit cards and debit cards), when a user selects this option, he properly identifies himself, then the sale is charged to his mobile account. With this option, fraud is limited so that a user with a mobile account in Tanzania can reserve airline tickets from Zimbabwe to Madagascar with no need for prior authorization or other delays.
Near Field Communication (No-Touch Mobile Payments)
For payments at physical locations, users can wave an NFC-enabled phone in front of an NFC reader. This method requires a significant supporting infrastructure (compatible phones and checkout devices), but is nonetheless gaining some acceptance in Japan for mass transit and throughout Europe for parking fees.
SMS Based Mobile Payments
This mobile payment option, despite its many drawbacks (poor reliability, high cost, low security, slow speed, etc.) is still widely used. In this model, the user sends an SMS text message to a short code. A premium charge is applied to the user’s phone bill. The seller is informed of the successful transaction and later paid for the sale. Mobile payments in Africa are still relying greatly on this technology.
Mobile Payment Apps, Devices, and Technology
Digital Wallets: Apps for Mobile Payments
There are apps competing to be an all-inclusive digital wallet. They aggregate all of the user’s payments accounts and loyalty/points accounts. Google Wallet and Apple Passbook are most popular. However, these apps simply act as a wallet to store all of your cards. They don’t eliminate the need to use cards.
Mobile Payment Apps that Reward Users
Some apps use a gamification approach, in which users get reward points for paying with their app. Other services enhance mobile apps with mobile payment, loyalty, offers, receipts and related commerce services.
Mobile Devices for Mobile Payments
Part of the attraction to direct mobile billing options is that special devices are not required. A phone that accepts and sends SMS text messages is a phone can be used to pay for hotel reservations or book an airline ticket.
Mobile Payment Technology
Mobile payment platforms are revolutionizing mobile payment options. Mobile payment systems connect to hundreds of mobile carriers throughout the world and offer users the ability to make purchases with one click that are billed to their mobile accounts.
Mobile Payments for East African Hospitality Businesses
According to Gartner, Africa’s mobile payments transactions will reach $160 billion in 2016. According to the Financial Times, “Africa is the next big thing,” in the hospitality industry. This combination of opportunities, a prosperous travel vertical and an increasing reliance on mobile payments in East Africa, creates a need for an end-to-end payment platform that allows cross border mobile payments for travel purchases.
The Direct Pay Online Mobile Payments Solution
The African travel industry has come to rely on Direct Pay Online for its online payment processing needs. Now, with our partnership with cellulant’s end to end platform, African tourism and hospitality businesses can easily accept mobile payments and expand their reach to more customers.
Using Direct Pay Online Payments Service anywhere with the mobile payments app mSWIPE Plus , as well as on a travel website, will enable all models of payments (credit cards, Paypal, bank transfer, and direct mobile billing), in all currencies, and with all cellular providers including cross border mobile payments. Our network includes 26 airlines, more than 180 hotel, and over 320 agents and tour operators.
Regardless of where he are from, which mobile carrier he uses, and where he is booking, when a customer selects the mobile payment option, he easily uses his mobile money account, enters his approval code, and receives an online confirmation in minutes.
The African travel industry now has the freedom to pay and be paid anywhere at any time.