As party of the ongoing discussion following the ePayments Forum that was held exactly two weeks ago, we’ve decided to post here the main issues that came out of the event. You can read more about the event itself on the sub site dedicated for the event here: epayments.techzim.co.zw
- Electronic payments are an opportunity to resolves some of the most pressing problems in Zimbabwe around the availability of cash. However the bigger opportunity for a healthier ePayments ecosystem is interoperability of different platforms by players in the industry. This will ensure the gaps caused by financial exclusion (and financial exclusion itself) are narrowed and that the economic benefits from the improved flow of monetary value.
- The evolving ePayments landscape is technology driven, consumer centric, and has brought in new participants. There is growth in “big data” given the technology growth and that data is an opportunity to deliver more customer focused solutions. Cloud computing is a huge opportunity for new entrants in the payments space to go to market faster by leveraging existing infrastructure and partnerships. Zimbabwe has cloud infrastructure players already and organisations should start thinking of ways to harness the power of data generated by payments.
- There is need for financial regulation in ePayments to accommodate new new types players and smaller startup participants in the space so they can meet the needs of consumers and enterprise against a fast evolving technology industry. Regulation should enable and encourage as opposed to inhibiting new business models.
- While there’s clearly still need for the traditional branch expansion model for financial institutions, the realities of ePayments and the technologies enabling it means financial institutions also have to evolve from just “brick and mortar” branches and continuously explore new channels of distributing value.
- The POS device in a typical retail is also evolving into a Point of Convenience for electronic ePayments of all types including service subscription, peer to peer money transfer point, utility bills payments and others.
- The consumer is becoming more demanding and wants to use new “radical” platforms to transact. An example cited is some consumers in other markets transacting on social networks like Facebook (which itself has significant adoption in Zimbabwe) where they can buy services and transfer money electronically to other users. There’s need for frictionless solutions i.e. spanning devices and different platforms.
- While modern middle to upper class technology and platforms have developed allowing consumers to transact online (eCommerce) and on social networks (Social Commerce) the majority of the population locally are still unbanked and most do not have access to high performance internet connectivity for the luxuries of eCommerce.
- Internet Entrepreneurs and software (&web) developers have been waiting for a long time for a solution that allows them to monetize their web based services and products or develop solutions that allow their ‘brick and mortar merchant clients to accept payments online. While Zimswitch has introduced a solution for this, it is still in pilot and there are suggestions the solution is not as seamless as some global solutions like PayPal. Inflexible financial regulation cited as the challenge.
- Participants suggested that the companies and panellists at the ePayments event and other players in the space create ongoing dialogue and solutions to address the legal framework of the ecosystem.