Tools of new payment systems

Network International the leading enabler of digital commerce across the Middle East and Africa, has published research highlighting the key trends putting Payment Acceptance at an inflection point of growth in Africa. The report further builds on its findings by outlining strategic opportunities for banks in the region.

The White Paper – Payment Acceptance in Africa – has been produced as part of Network International’s work in supporting financial inclusion. The pace of growth in the adoption of digital payments and bank accounts provides financial services providers with brand new opportunities to roll out new fintech solutions, credit facilities for SMEs and retail banking services to the world’s fast-growing ‘banked’ population.

The report details the broad pillars of growth across bank accounts (now held by 41% of adults), Point of Sale devices (up 26% per annum) and transactions per card (up 61% per annum) according to Network’s research of nine African markets. The report also highlights the untapped opportunity, with transactions currently concentrated on the travel and entertainment sector and within major cities.

Commenting on the scale of opportunity, Andrew Key, Managing Director – Africa, Network International, said: “The Network International White Paper shows that the amount of money processed through Point of Sale devices environments remains only 5% of GDP in Africa, compared to over 30% in some countries. Closing this gap offers Africa significant economic development potential. Our research also shows a growing untapped opportunity through the rapidly increasing bankability of Africa’s population stemming partly from the region’s digitally engaged customer base and fintech-hungry businesses, in addition to falling hardware costs, sophisticated pricing and more flexible technologies.”

The  report indicates that Africa’s banking sector is now at a crossroads – a moment in history where financial services has an opportunity to transform how they interact with the unbanked population, how they engage with SMEs and how they can support small-scale businesses in high-employment sectors like agriculture where there are enormous opportunities.

The research paper suggests multiple opportunities for the banking sector, including:

Transforming the profitability of Payment Acceptance through lower costs, new revenue lines and greater scale.

Creating a ‘halo effect’ on the issuing side of the business by creating more usage opportunities and the potential to drive customer loyalty as more merchants equate to more opportunities for the use of issuing products, boosting transaction-driven revenue

Feeding the flow of liabilities and hard currency to a bank.

Transforming how personal customers transact with their bank and encouraging a deeper engagement with a bank’s brand.

Supporting the growth of efficient lending to both companies and individuals.

Creating a new delivery channel through flexible technology enabling additional services.