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New partnership to boost NFC in emerging markets

NFC retail payment and other POS services are set to gain traction in emerging markets following the announcement of a partnership between contactless network provider accells and Fundamo, the specialist mobile financial services provider.

The partnership is set to benefit from the latent demand and a clear route to market for NFC services in emerging markets, which include the following advantages:

  • Existing infrastructure – Mobile financial services are now common place across emerging markets with existing technology platforms, infrastructure and agent networks. The addition of a mobile NFC payment terminal isn’t a large incremental cost.
  • Availability of NFC-enabled devices –NFC ‘Tags’ are now widely available to consumers and transform any mobile phone, no matter what age or model, into an NFC device. Integrated NFC devices are only beginning to roll-out in developed markets and are far from mass adoption.
  • Existing business model – Consumers in emerging markets already pay a fee for mobile financial services, so are used to paying for convenient and reliable access to payment services. In contrast, consumers in developed markets pay very little or nothing at all for retail financial services.

Fundamo and accells will leverage Fundamo’s 50 existing mobile financial services deployments across more than 40 countries globally, including 27 countries in Africa and the Middle East, to roll-out NFC retail payment services. Fundamo’s deployments currently have the potential to reach a user base of more than 180 million consumers to offer various mobile financial services.

“NFC has always been a technology with potential. But the industry has been entirely focused on the growth of NFC in developed markets despite adoption being years away. What about emerging markets, the cradle of mobile financial services?” asks Hannes van Rensburg, CEO of Fundamo. “NFC represents a natural evolution in developing markets with fewer barriers to adoption and an immediate opportunity. The reality is that NFC take up in emerging markets will be rapid and market players need to be prepared for accelerated uptake. It is more than likely that emerging markets will leapfrog developed once again.”

By linking an NFC ‘Tag’ to the mobile phone number, and introducing low-cost POS terminals or terminal add-ons, accells seamlessly turns any mobile phone into a NFC device for fast, secure and easy-to-use access to any service.  Consumers enjoy the contactless experience, just tapping their phone at the terminal and confirming a retail payment transaction and many other transactions with a simple PIN.  The merchant can process transactions more efficiently, implement its own loyalty program, and add 3rd party service offers to its current portfolio.  Mobile network operators can achieve higher ARPU, less churn and greater market share. Financial institutions and service providers will benefit from stronger protection against identity theft and other fraud losses.

“Our vision is to enrich the point-of-sale experience anywhere and everywhere mobile phones are present,” said Eduardo Shoval, CEO of accells.  “We are especially excited to bring the benefits of our contactless network to emerging markets, where retail payment and other new mobile services can simplify everyday life through less queuing, greater personal safety and more financial control.  Fundamo’s strong, established presence in these markets makes them an ideal partner for us in the launch of our services.  We are pleased to have won Fundamo’s confidence in pursuit of this large and growing opportunity.

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