Phones Are the New Banks: Mobile Payments in Africa and Beyond

Though it’s a trend that’s now spreading across the globe, the rise of mobile payments can be directly traced back to Africa. It’s an example of how unique conditions give rise to innovative solutions, and how those innovations catch on. Here’s a brief look at the rise of mobile payment technology and at the role Africa has played in its success.

 The Mobile Payment Bandwagon

Just this month, September 2013, a number of British retailers announced their partnership with smartphone payment application Zapp, expected to launch summer 2014. Long before that, in November 2012, global coffee chain Starbucks launched a mobile payment system using Square Wallet, allowing customers to pay for their coffees with a simple scan of their smartphone. In China, the mobile payment market tripled in size over the last year, with a growing number of retailers jumping aboard the e-payments trend.

Clearly, mobile payments are the new face of commerce – both for consumers and, increasingly, within a B2B setting as well. It may not be long until every type of payment – from mortgages and business loans to utilities bills and income tax – is made through mobiles. read more

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