By Vanessa Papas: South Africans are warming up to the idea that cash in your pocket can actually mean spending more than you have to. That’s where mobile money comes into play. The difference between Mobile money and airtime top up is that Mobile money is more than air time, it is money paid to the person and spending is entirely at their own discretion. We chat to Clayton Hayward, co-founder uKheshe – a smartphone app and QR card that makes life easier, about the ins and outs of mobile money.
What is mobile money? Mobile money is an electronic wallet service. This is available in many countries and allows users to store, send, and receive money using their mobile phone. There are more than 260 different Mobile Money services around the world, although they are most popular in Africa, Asia and Latin America. With 87-million monthly users, the mobile money market in Africa is proving lucrative – and it still has ample room to grow.
How does mobile money work? A mobile wallet enables the user to access e-commerce and merchant services without needing a bank account or FICA verification. Mobile money is most often aimed at the micro-entrepreneur who wants to accept card payments without needing a bank account. This means that any mobile money user can accept payment from any Masterpass enabled app, including Zapper and all the major banking apps, including FNB, Capitech, Nedbank, Standard Bank and ABSA.
What do you need? Users just need a basic mobile phone and can dial a code to instantly sign up for the QR code service. Once completed, they can accept payments immediately. There are also apps for smartphone users (available on iOS and Android.) that offers the same functionality. You can buy airtime, data and electricity directly via the USSD menu or the smartphone app and sending money to other users is also possible. To get paid via your mobile money wallet, simply let someone scan your QR code, or give them your QR number. You can also send a Pay Me request to any mobile number. Mobile money cards are mostly free to users.
What can a recipient do with mobile money? Mobile payments are the future as we rapidly move towards a cashless society. There are more advanced markets where cash is already a thing of the past, but many nations are slower to make the switch to mobile money. Locally, mobile money is fast becoming a reality in South Africa. With more than 11 million unbanked in this country alone, it was inevitable that technology would drive disruption into this space and give consumers what they need: access to their money as well as a way to make their money work harder for them.
Mobile money in the workforce: Mobile money is becoming a dominant force within the workforce. It is encouraging innovation and enabling lower-income workers to access more than they could previously do. There are examples of end-to-end application that allow the mobile money user to apply for loans on their mobile phones. Understandably, the rise of mobile money has seen an increase in the use of QR code-based transactions. This eliminates traditional card payments, which is evident in the rise of businesses such as Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and PayPal as examples.
How safe is mobile money? Mobile wallets are mostly within a safe and secure platform. If your QR code card is lost or stolen you can request a new number or card and it won’t affect your wallet. You should ensure your phone is protected with a pin in the case it gets stolen. To recover your account you simply need to provide us with the account pin you are issued with when you first sign up. This pin should be kept in a secure place.
Where can my recipient get a mobile money account? It’s simple and easy. Just look for a code to dial on your mobile phone or download the app. Cards can also be ordered directly from the various websites.