Mobile money is transforming the African economy, opening e-commerce to huge numbers of untapped consumers – particularly those without bank accounts. FinTech businesses and network operators offering Mobile money services need a reliable partner to provide an ecosystem that is safe and secure.
4C’s FinTech division provides a range of dedicated integration middleware technologies to African financial service providers (FSPs) so they can connect users to retailers, banks, telcos, utilities, streaming services, and other service providers. But what exactly is Mobile money and why are these e-commerce services so essential in the African economy?
Mobile money drives financial inclusion to make e-commerce more accessible
A common misconception is that Mobile money is the same as online banking. In reality, it is a mobile financial service widely offered by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in emerging markets where large parts of the population are either unbanked or underbanked. Mobile money provides a digital payment platform that allows for the transfer of value between mobile phones and SIM-enabled devices.
Users can receive, withdraw and send money without being directly connected to the formal banking system. It is also widely accepted for e-commerce, m-commerce, bulk payment disbursements, insurance, savings, loans and merchant transactions at points of sale.
Mobile money operators typically embed the Mobile money wallet on a SIM card and users are required to create a unique PIN before they can start using the service. If the phone or SIM card gets lost, damaged or stolen, the user’s money is safe because anyone wishing to access the wallet must first input the PIN which only the authorised user knows.
To make Mobile money accessible to as many people as possible, it is critical that it is compatible with all device types. Accordingly, it offers omnichannel access so users with smartphones can enjoy a rich user experience by using a mobile app, whilst those with entry-level devices can access the service using USSD strings and shortcodes. Additionally, businesses can access Mobile money services to process B2B, B2C and C2B transaction types through integration with an Application Programming Interface (API).
4C’s e-commerce services open African markets
Our iNSight Payment Gateway (iPG) creates an interface between the end-user and the businesses. As an integrated payment system, the iPG facilitates financial data transfers through the payment portal. It implements a communication system between mutually interacting software applications in a service-oriented architecture to promote agility and flexibility with regard to high-level protocol communication between applications.
The solution features an integrated API Portal based on open standards, as well as a Developer Portal. These components enable scalable integration with third-party service providers, systems and applications so that our clients can expedite the expansion of their ecosystems.
Information is passed securely and in real time between a source system/vendor and destination system/vendor. Each transaction is audited for completeness and records are kept for reporting. The solution offers built-in security, redundancy, scalability and speed to ensure stability and availability. Non-functional features include but are not limited to, application-to-application authentication, logging, monitoring, error handling, recovery, auditing, deployment tools and a management dashboard.
Loan origination provides access to affordable credit
African markets are often behind the curve when it comes to consumer credit profiling and, in many markets, there are still no formal credit bureaus to speak of. As a result, lenders and credit providers have difficulty in determining the actual risk of granting credit to a Mobile money user.
Mobile money can bridge this gap as wallets allow users to establish a financial track record. Subject to the user’s consent, this historical data can be analysed using a predictive analytics engine to more accurately determine the user’s propensity to pay, and ultimately assign them a predictive credit score.
The regulatory provisions that govern Mobile money preclude network operators from extending credit to their users. To overcome this regulatory hurdle operators often enter into revenue share agreements with lenders who are prepared to extend credit to their users.
These agreements basically allow the Mobile money Operator to create a mechanism through which users can apply for credit with these lenders, subject to the user giving consent to the operator to use their historical data to determine and assign a predictive credit score. Lenders then use this predictive score to tailor credit offerings to the actual risk of the user, which in most cases results in more affordable credit.
iNSight’s integration middleware technology includes the iNSight Orchestration Engine. By integrating this module with the iPG, we can create a credit origination platform that automates the various workflows required to enable users to access credit. Aside from orchestrating credit applications and disbursement, the iPG plays a continuous role in the collection of repayments and the reconciliation of all loans disbursed.
Benefits of 4C’s e-commerce services for FinTechs
The iNSight Orchestration Engine can also be used to set up payment dates and automate workflows. Complex services or events can be configured and managed seamlessly through a centralised console, making it easier for FinTechs and Mobile money Operators to offer their users access to an ever-expanding range of products and services.
Our systems support change management with scheduled reporting and customisable configuration. Data-driven business intelligence is ensured with high information-sharing capability and excellent communication between connected systems.
Collecting and collating data from multiple sources gives our clients visibility into their Mobile money ecosystem. 4C provides operational support to ensure that our Payment Gateway is secure and highly available.
Supporting FinTech expansion in Africa
Mobile money is becoming more popular than traditional banking in many regions across Africa, particularly in remote or rural areas. Populations without bank accounts or internet access can achieve financial mobility with easy-to-use e-commerce services. Importantly, users of all ages and various levels of digital literacy can benefit from the e-commerce services that companies set up.
4C’s Payment Gateway supports business growth across the African continent by allowing FinTechs and Telcos to expand their operations with value-added services, such as commissions to dealers and special offers or incentives for customers. For more information about our e-commerce services, contact 4C today.
At 4C Group of Companies, we strive to effect operational changes and cost savings for customers through our iNSight product and associated services. This product’s main function is to re-purpose and deliver business-critical information to a variety of systems and stakeholders.
We specialise in information assurance, business assurance, FinTech solutions and a variety of business systems. For more insights into our products and services, check out our blog page or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.