Some noteworthy discussion points from the ePayments Forum

Posted by Read 6 Comments
ePayments ForumAs 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.

 

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6 Comments

  1. purple says:

    Sounds like nothing concrete came out of it…………….

    1. Thanks for the feedback.

      Without fully understanding what you mean by “concrete” let me just point out that the objective of the Forum is not to come up with concrete action points. Even if we wanted to, this is simply not our mandate.

      Our mandate is to get players and individuals in one place to
      – discuss issues on ePayments and in that setting
      – be exposed to existing and new possibilities as well explore new opportunities in ePayments
      – begin conversation for solutions to existing problems
      – get to meet and network with other individuals in the space so they can share knowledge and explore ways to work together

      The purpose is to start new threads of conversation at the Forum (whether publicly or privately between participants) and not to conclude conversation and have action points hence the title of this post.

      1. Well enough, but i had hoped the Forum will craft a road map (white paper) or at least identify and document what needs to be done to bridge the current gap. Then companies and individuals can take it further…but still its a good start. better than nothing.

        1. We’ll definitely consider this for the next one. thanks for the contribution.

        2. purple says:

          Thats what i was looking forward to. Something that gives us direction of where it is going. At least set some goals by which we can later measure the progress of the whole process. I was looking forward to the big guys making declarations on what they aim to achieve or offer on their various services platforms.

  2. Guest says:

    Well done for organizing such an event the points in the article paint a realistic picture of electronic payments in the country,however I don’t think addition of more participants is a strong point rather grater adoption of electronic transacting methods which are reliable should be the focus without consumers fearing the risk of being shortchanged or their monies losing value.

    I’ve been a victim to a failed electronic payment method without mentioning names a bank which had an agreement with a mobile operator which came to an abrupt end and to be honest don’t think I recovered.

    What’s changed is I’m probably in the middle class tie with incomparable internet access from the time where mobile internet was for a select few and a middle man was involved in getting you connected to now where there are numerous ways to get connected.

    I like kingdom bank and there card less withdrawals which I constantly make use of, cant do without my FBC MasterCard to do purchases on the major app stores Google Play Windows Market Place and the Apple App Store, all 3 tried and tested. I’ve noticed integration in OK to be particular of local visa cards with zimswitch which I think is fantastic.

    To finish off my long post I hope such events become common with the adjudication of techzim it really does bring awareness to relevant issues.

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