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AfriCAN insight

Smarter banking solutions for Africa

Digital innovation has transformed the way consumers pay for goods worldwide. Liquid Telecom Payments Solutions looks at why it is important for African businesses to remain ahead with the latest payment solution trends.

The global payments ecosystem has changed beyond recognition in recent years as digital solutions have flooded the market and transformed how consumers pay for goods.

Online, mobile and contactless cards are now a firm part of the mainstream consciousness and will continue to play a prominent role in the future of payments. According to analyst firm Juniper Research, nearly 3 billion users will access retail banking services via smartphones, tablets, PCs and smartwatches by 2021, up an astounding 53% from this year.

Competition continues to heat up in the mobile payments space. Just a few years ago, Apple was the only major mobile wallet available on the market. Today it faces growing competition from Google and Samsung as well as a plethora of big brands – from American Express, Mastercard and Paypal through to Walmart and Vodafone. Enormous growth is still expected to come - mobile payments are estimated to triple over the next five years, growing to $148 billion by 2021, according to research and advisory firm Forrester.

The fintech start-up scene has also played an exciting role in disrupting the global payments industry. A loosening of regulations in countries such as the UK has allowed a new generation of challenger banks to emerge on the market. Untarnished by the global financial crisis and free from legacy IT systems, many are exploring an Open Banking model that allows third party developers to create apps and services around a financial institution.

From payments security and mobile point of sale (mPOS) through to digital remittances, app-based innovation is also creeping into many other areas of banking.

Keeping ahead of innovation

Liquid Telecom has been leading the way with innovation in the payments space in Africa through its subsidiary Liquid Telecom Payments Solutions

With over 20 years of experience in the African payments market, Liquid Telecom Payment Solutions today provides end-to-end solutions tailored for businesses of all sizes in Africa’s financial and retail sectors.

As well as offering the latest state-of-the-art mobile, in-store point of sale (POS) terminals, Liquid Telecom Payment Solutions can also provide integrated tills and fully-servicing ATM machines. Following a customer transaction, Liquid Telecom is then able to offer behind the scenes support - including transaction processing and comprehensive financial reporting.

This could support, for example, a large bank looking to improve client identification and transaction processing, or a small business looking to efficiently manage its cash flow.

In the last year, Liquid Telecom Payments Solutions has introduced a new white label product that enables businesses in the region to integrate various wallet programmes and services. Mobile Financial System Platform is currently helping African businesses create a new ecosystem of collaborative mobile financial services.

A technological leap

Now Liquid Telecom Payment Solutions is looking to support businesses further with their payment solutions needs by bringing an innovative payment terminal solution to select markets across Africa for the first time.

As one of the leading and most innovative global payment terminal solutions supplier in the world, PAX Technology has enjoyed sustained success in recent years and is today driving demand for Android-based point of sale terminals. With more than 17 million PAX terminals deployed in over 100 countries, Liquid Telecom Payment Solutions is now exclusively offering the PAX terminal range to African businesses of all sizes.

Like the technological leap to smartphones, the move to a smart POS terminal brings with it access to a vast selection of apps that can help businesses drive efficiencies and save costs.

Smart POS terminals, such as the PAX A920 mobile tablet and E-Series portfolio of new generation cash registers, present businesses with a variety of value added services, which are unavailable on traditional POS terminals. Customer rating apps, for example, enable consumers to rate the level of service when paying for a bill, while app-based communications between call centres and merchants can reduce the cost of calls for businesses.

Through the PAXSTORE, an appstore platform on Amazon Web Services, banks can create their own independent marketplace for merchants to download their apps. This offers banks potential new revenue streams from distribution of apps, while merchants receive enhanced functionality and a more user-friendly payment terminal.

Android smartphones played a key role in the meteoric rise of mobile payments in China. The country today leads the world when it comes to mobile payments, thanks in part to the success of mobile wallets offerings from the likes of Alibaba and Tencent; best known for its social media platform WeChat. This in turn led to an increase in demand for Android-based terminals to support these android-based e-wallets.

While new mobile payment systems are emerging thick and fast across Africa, the region is yet to unlock the potential of mobile payments on a scale seen in China. A more advanced and open payments ecosystem looks set to change that soon.

To learn more about Liquid Telecom Payments Solutions, visit: Liquid Telecom Payments

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