A couple more examples of the growing importance of cashless, mobile phone-based payments in Africa have emerged in recent days – this time in South Africa and Uganda.
South African operator Telkom has officially launched a mobile payment solution called Telkom Pay Digital Wallet (or Telkom Pay).
The platform aims to allow users to pay others and get paid themselves using their mobile phone through the WhatsApp messaging app – to anyone on their contacts list. It also serves as a cashless point of sale payment option for businesses.
Users with WhatsApp can add Telkom Pay on the app and register. From then on they can send and/or receive money by sharing a ‘Please pay me’ with a contact or using a cell phone number to send them money.
The wallet also allows for easy payments by simply scanning and paying for goods with QR codes. In addition, Telkom Pay allows customers to buy airtime, data and electricity.
In Uganda meanwhile, MTN Uganda has launched an easy payment plan that allows MTN customers to get smartphones and pay in easy instalments over a specified period. Again there’s a cashless component as payments can be made using MTN Mobile Money. Eligibility is guided by how long the customer has been an MTN subscriber as well as their usage of MTN services.
To kick-start this scheme, named ‘Pay mpola mpola’, MTN has unveiled the MTN Kabode – a new high-speed internet smartphone that customers will initially be able to buy under the new payment scheme.