Recently there has been an increase in mobile wallets and payment solutions offered on the African continent. It has been said that Africa is in fact leading the mobile revolution. Wallets allow for bill payment, movement of funds between wallets and cash outs. The drive has been around the fact that African citizens have mobile phones before they have bank accounts. Wallets are introduced by banks, mobile operators and corporates. The revolution is also spurred on by success stories like M-PESA.
So many prepaid industry players have wondered how do prepaid cards fit in with wallets or are they in direct competition? The answer should be that both cards and wallets can certainly work together.
In the African market the goal of financial institutions and is to eliminate cash. Both wallets and cards do this. However on their own both products can have their shortcomings. For wallets it’s the acceptance of wallets at point of sales (pos) and the cash out for cash. Not every wallet is able to achieve full acceptance across every retailer. For cards the weaknesses are flexibility of airtime purchases, bill payments and additional convenience services that wallets offer. If the products were to be combined the offering to customers would be powerful. A product that offered convenience and cost effectiveness of wallets combined with the security of universal acceptance and cash access is why mobile wallets and prepaid cards are the perfect fit.
We predict that there will be a great deal more of the combination of these two products in the market going forward.