Africa pioneered mobile banking. Genesis and scope of m-pesa
Someóm-pesa is a new service that many designers do not realize how great a source ofódeveloping countries can be a source of inspiration. Africa, not normally associated with technological development, boasts a surprisingly high level of mobile services, with e-banking at the forefront.
Not so long ago, we saw the launch of payments using NFC (Near Field Communication) technology in Poland. Poland, as Europe’s leader in contactless payments, was a testbed for the technology. It raises a lot of emotions and expectations, but what’s interesting, the use of phoneóin money circulation is not a new idea. The pioneer and leader in this area is a country very rarely associated with innovation – Kenya, in whichóa cruise service called m-pesa has been in operation for 6 years.
Savannah the cradle of mobile banking
Conditions in Kenya in 2007 may have seemed unpromising for the development of electronic services:
– Not many Kenyansów had computers.
– Even fewer had access to the Internet.
– Having a bank account was a rarity, especially in the case of theóIn 2009, only 19% of the population in Poland had a bank account. adult Kenyanów).
– ATM networków and bank branchóin was underdeveloped. If someone already had a bank account, the nearest ATM was a few (sometimes several dozen) kilometers away from his place of residenceów.
On the other hand, a positive feature of the market has been the rapidly growing network of comówhichóThe slogan became the foundation of the new service.
Need is the mother of inventionów – origins of m-pesa
The demand for a new wayób transfer of money in Kenya resulted indirectly from the poor economic situation in the country. It has caused migration of people from the areaóin rural to urban areas. It appeared in theóAt the time, the problem of howób send the money you earn to families whoóThe slogan was the foundation of the new service. There were 3 possibilities. Transferring money to people whoóWe want to pay out the moneyów. Using a driveróin the busóin i matatu (collective taxationó(wki). Sending money by post.
The first two ways were risky because the money often did not reach its destination. The post office was inefficient and irregular. In 2007, the company Safaricom, the largest operator of the comóThe need is the mother of inventionóra launched a service called m-pesa.
Send money home
HeadóThe main advertising slogan of the newly launched service was „Send money home”. Simple and clear communication was key in a country where most people did not understandóIn a country where the majority of the population did not understand what non-cash wasónckowe money transfers. M-pesa (pesa means money in Swahili) made it possible to send money using a mobile phoneóto give a certain amount of money to another phone owner, not necessarily registered in the system. OpróTo send money to loved ones, m-pesa customers can use their phone to send money to friends and familyóalso: pay bills, check your account balance, take out credit, make deposits and statementsów gotóYou can open an account with an authorised agentów, top up your phone and pay for your airline ticket. The system is accepted not only by Kenya Airways but also by other carriersóAlso British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
Each functionality was a response to market needs, thanks to which it was possible to create a system that was simple and adapted to the needs of the userów.
How m-pesa works?
1. Creating an account and depositing money into it
You can open an account with an authorized agentóIn m-pesa, whichóThe following are the outpostsóSafaricom or a retail network (mainly petrol stations). Currently, the size of the network agentóIn Kenya, there are an estimated 40,000 outpostsóinvention.
When a new customer fills in a simple application form, they receive an SMS with a temporary code. Then you are asked to create your own four-character PIN. At this step ends the registration process. A new customer of the network can immediately deposit money in his account with an agent. The account activation process is shown below.
Zaróboth registration and account maintenance are free of charge, fees are charged only when sending or withdrawing money. The charging rules are one of the reasons for the rapid development of the service, because the cost of sending money to a person not registered in the network is more than four times higher than in the case of a clientóin the registered. So it pays to be a member of m-pesa.
2. Sending money to other usersów
This transaction is even simpler. All you have to do is enter the recipient’s phone number, the amount to be transferred and confirm the transaction with the PIN. User, to whomóThe user on whom the money was sent gets an SMS with a special code. Then shows the code in the nearest squareóince the network and receives the amount sent. The following are some of the ways you canóThe screens of this activity.
3. Withdrawing money from an agent
The process of withdrawing money from your own account resembles the previous point. Instead of the recipient’s phone number, you enter the number of the unit in which the gift is to be madeówe want to withdraw money. After entering the PIN code you will receive an SMS. After showing it we get a readyówka.
4. Withdrawing money at an ATM
In 2008, Safaricom started to support theóWe worked with PesaPoint, one of the largest ATM networksóin Kenya , któThere are currently over 500 machines. Thanks to this network of agentsóm-pesa services have grown significantly. The user, whoóIf you want to withdraw money from an ATM, select the appropriate item in the application menu. He then receives a temporary code (it is valid for two hours), using whichóThe m-pesa application is very easy to use. No need for an ATM card!
5. Recharging your phone
The m-pesa app allows róWe are now spending more time on our tablets and smartphones than on our PCsóyour own as well as another person’s. A very simple process requires the user to select the phone to be recharged and the recharge amount. After accepting with PIN code, an SMS with the current account balance is sent.
The m-pesa app is very easy to use. The ascetic look of the interface is determined by the devices from whichóThe term is used to describe a person who is a Kenyan. These are older generation phones, not yet equipped with m.in. screenóIn 2012, the m-pesa application was launched with the help of touchscreen phones, internet connectivity and other functionalities, whichóThe success of these applications shows that Africa can still play an important role in the development of modern mobile services.
The application also has a very simple information architecture. All its elements are the minimum necessary, whichóre guarantees a smooth and intuitive user experience. The structure of the application is presented below. If you are interested in this topic, I refer you to the text from whichóhe graph below is based on.
In 2012, with the help of touchóin the comóThe total amount of money transferred in Africa is approx. 61 billionóon the dollarów. This is a larger sum than the combined transfers made in this way in Europe and the USA. By last year, m-pesa, had about 17 millionóin registered usersóin Kenya alone. OpróThe service has been introduced in a number of countriesóThe total amount of money that can be transferred by this method is higher than the total amount transferred in Europe and the USA. Tanzania, Afghanistan and South Africa. On 18 April this year, the company launched its operations in India, whichó700 millionóin citizens are referred to as „unbanked”. The term refers to a person whoóTheóThe user does not use bank services. As many as 8,300 agents set out to conquer this marketóin m-pesa, whichóThe user is not using banking servicesóMore than 220 million gamblers are expected to use this routeóin new usersów.
Experience from the Black Continent may be useful for us
Africans, despite using outdated technologies and devices, are pioneers in mobile trends. For this reason, it is worth looking at new mobile solutions on the continent when designing services for the European or American market.
In the article I focused only on describing the application used in mobile banking. While collecting materialóHowever, I have repeatedly come across examples of other services, e.g. in health care, którym rót is also worth taking a closer look at. The success of such applications, shows that Africa can still play an important role in the development of modern mobile services.