So I received a text from my bank, telling me how I could buy ZESA tokens using their USSD code. Wait, that’s not the catch because obviously you already know that. What interests me is the fact that 10 or so years back, who ever thought we’d be doing so much on our mobile devices? And who knows? Maybe another 10 years from now we will be posing the same question again.
Mobile devices have allowed us to do one of the most fundamental things in life; transact.
Transactions on mobile devices can be done through bank apps or via USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) codes amongst other means. However, the most common method of transacting in Zimbabwe is via USSD codes. USSD codes are convenient in that their use is not only limited to those who have smartphones or even to those who have access to the internet. This has brought a shift in that not only are USSD codes being used by mobile banking platforms such as Ecocash, but every other bank is looking to or already has a USSD code.
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Again, mobile payment also seems to be challenging the use of bank cards. Recently, Visa launched mVisa in Africa. mVisa is a mobile payment service that can be used as an alternative to Visa cards. It uses the mobile banking app’s Quick Response codes (QR codes) to make payments. So basically once you have the mVisa activated, all you need to do is scan the barcode with your smartphone through your mobile banking app to make any payment wherever the service is supported. This means that you don’t have to carry your Visa card everywhere and most importantly, people can stop making the oh-I-left-my-card excuse!
The mVisa system is also convenient in that refunds can be processed immediately from the application. For those who’ve had trouble reversing a double transaction at the till at some point like me, this is good news. But then again, we can’t rejoice too soon because the system isn’t available in Zimbabwe yet, last I checked it was only in Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, Rwanda and India. We just had to talk about it since we talking about mobile payment, besides it won’t hurt for us to know about it so we’re prepared for it when it finally arrives.
It seems everyone is moving towards going cashless (whether by default or by choice), so what better way of achieving that than integrating it all on almost everyone’s top used device?