In January, an analyst colleague of mine at Juniper Research commented on the mobile banking market in a blog entry entitled “Mobile Banking Out of Africa”. Well, this week, I am going to do the same for the mobile payments market as two particular items of interest in this space caught my attention recently. The first one you could hardly miss, and that was Barclays' announcement of their P2P money service called “Pingit”
– it has been very widely reported and almost universally acclaimed. This service enables users to receive and send money to anyone with a UK current account simply by using their mobile number – eliminating the need to share bank details. On top of a very catchy name (it almost makes you want to give your money away!) Barclays' seem to have got everything right and have clearly learnt the lessons from other money transfer services. Simplicity is key and Pingit has certainly achieved that, together with the other key attribute – ubiquity (Pingit will work across the entire UK banking structure in March, but that’s not long to wait). Where did they learn these lessons? More than likely “Out of Africa”, where such services have been mainstream for years now. The other announcement – equally impressive in my view, but hardly reported at all, was that from Warid Congo of a new mobile payments service called “Mobicash” which “overcomes the challenges of cashless payment by using multi-factor authentication mechanisms (NSDT, fingerprint, NFC and Voice biometric) technology”. Now that’s a really comprehensive portfolio of authentication options for your mobile payment – and fulfils another key attribute of a mobile payments service – security. Where does it come from? “Out of Africa”!