The African payments industry is being reshaped by a confluence of global mega-trends that will leave in its wake greater convenience, improved experiences and greater financial inclusion.
Markus Eichinger, executive vice president of Group Strategy at Wirecard, says the payments industry is currently under pressure from a number of global mega-trends that will reshape how consumers in developing and developed countries pay for goods.
- A move to cashless payments, which will be driven by a further increase in electronic payments supported by regulatory improvements – such as Europe’s PSD2 regulatory framework – as well as the game-changing revolution of blockchain technology that enables electronic processing of cash-like virtual money;
- Advances in artificial intelligence that are reducing payment risks on the merchant and acquirer side while producing convenient new customer-facing innovations such as AI-assisted chatbots, natural voice processing, and facial recognition and biometric identification that are revolutionising the check-out process;
- Expanding mobility driving borderless payments innovation especially for smaller e-commerce companies in developing nations who struggle to access foreign markets due to challenges with multi-currency pricing and cross-border payment acceptance;
- A renewed drive for financial inclusion to bring the estimated two billion adults worldwide without bank accounts into the formal economic fold, which in Africa will be driven mostly through innovation in mobile money services such as M-Pesa and WeChat Pay; and
- Attempts to achieve frictionless customer experiences that don’t put stress on the user or require unnecessary information, especially as customer experience becomes the defining differentiator in business.