Archives For October 2012

Today we look at the wiGroup and their Point of Sale (POS) system that allows you to pay for in-store purchases via their mobile phones. As mobile wallets such as Pocit and mimoney grow in popularity the difficulty is finding a physical store that accepts payments has become an issue. The wiwallet solution provides an interface between providers and point of sales systems.

The wiWallet/wiGroup do not interface with the end user/customer on the street. They provide the back-end system for current wallets to be utilized at a Point Of Sale in a retail stores such Nando’s, KFC, Mugg & Bean and even clothing retailers such as Truworths. Wiwallet works behind the scenes and requires a provider to be the interface between the retailer and consumer. An example of these providers includes the likes of Pocit(Currently – as per the website).

The system would work with an integrated POS system that would be placed in a certain store and from the wallet, a unique number will be sent through the users mobile phone, as the phone accesses the wallet via USSD. This unique number can in fact be given to the cashier, which can be inserted for payment.

The wiCode platform allows retailers to integrate once to a platform (switch) and access multiple mobile payment providers and applications (eMoney, mobile vouchers, mobile coupons and mobile loyalty. wiWallet point of sale partners include Micros and Pilot, two of the biggest providers of POS services.

The service is convenient for retailers as it allows for a single interface to multiple mobile payment providers.

Pro’s:

– Reduce carrying cash

– Reduce use of bank cards or even help in the situation of bank cards not being carried in error

Con’s:

– Dependent on network access of phone’s

– Limited number of stores capable and able and there is a lack of information about which stores are currently on board(info not clearly available telephonically or on website)

In conclusion

All in all the idea sounds excellent, and we would like to put it to the test. wiWallet were happy to explain how the process works although there was little information available about current stores, which had the POS units actively using the wallets currently.

It is up to the wallet company’s who will join in as partners (e.g POCIT etc) to market this opportunity, and to take the use of wallet’s forward.

Take a look at the wiWallet site here

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It’s been years that we’ve been told how the mobile wallet is the future. Why then is there no one we know who actually uses their mobile phone as a wallet?

Back in 2009, Gartner Group predicted that the number of mobile payment users around the world would be topping 190-million by 2012. This year, Gartner revised that number to 212.2 million users, with a total of US$171 billion in mobile payment transactions. In the UK, services like Barclays’ PingIt, which allows you to transfer money to another user’s account using your mobile phone, have only just reached the market. Locally the same could be said for FNB while other banks are totally lagging. Businesses are hardly equipped properly to handle mobile payments. If there are so many users and so much money being transferred then why aren’t tech evangelists using the service?

One of the big problems, when it comes to defining mobile payments, is that this term encompasses a variety of different technologies. Nowadays, the technology that smartphones have on offer should allow us to use our online services like PayPal, Amazon Payments and Google Wallet to make real-world purchases. If you throw in mobile card readers like Square the area gets particularly murky.

So what are the hold-ups?

The first thing is that handsets just aren’t ready for this kind of technology. To take advantage of NFC, phones need to have a built-in chip that can identify the handset and that can manage the transaction. There are actually very few phones around with this sort of technology built-in; the Samsung Galaxy S3 is one and its pretty recent on the market.

Next on the list of obstacles is the fact that the mobile wallet just doesn’t have massive consumer confidence when it comes to security. In the US, a recent survey showed that after questioning 1 203 people it was pretty clear that most users would not feel secure using mobile payments to purchase goods in store.

Finally, the hurdle that will really determine how quickly the mobile wallet makes it to the marketplace is vendor confidence. Much of the technology that can make mobile payments really possible at any store is already available, but security issues and the fact that potential customers don’t seem enthralled by the idea, mean that vendors are a little nervous to invest in the technology required to make this all an everyday reality.

So, to sum up, while the mobile wallet has taken its time getting to us, the services are starting to appear. Realistically, it will be a good few years before you actually get to leave your real wallet at home and just rely on your phone… and if the polls are to be believed most of us aren’t going to be rushing to switch from leather to silicon just yet.

In the US, Wal-Mart Stores is taking another leap into the banking world, announcing a prepaid card and debit account with American Express that will give low-income consumers access to features like smartphone deposits.

The move is intended to strengthen both companies’ position in the prepaid card market — which, unlike credit and debit cards, is largely unregulated and has far fewer consumer protections.

The account is called “Bluebird” and the companies are positioning it as an option for people turned off by bank fees.

Bluebird means prepaid card holders can have access to features that are usually associated with credit cards, like American Express’s customer service, roadside assistance and mobile banking. For Walmart there is the potential to reach the underbanked – customers who use few, if any, bank services. This market has potential for being a $45 billion market.

For the Bluebird account, customers can sign up free online or via mobile phone, or pay $5 in a Walmart store. They receive a card stamped with the American Express logo, which they can use anywhere American Express is accepted. They can set up direct deposit for paychecks and deposit other checks by taking a mobile phone picture of them. And they can withdraw cash. The companies do not perform a credit check before creating an account.

There is even a really useful smartphone app that allows you to deposit a cheque simply by taking a picture.

These innovations are changing the face of prepaid in the US and provides an insight into how the concept will change in our country as well. For now, the Bluebird card offers a great option for the average American prepaid consumer. We’re interested to see whether this will continue to South Africa when Walmart arrives and its impact on the local landscape.

Every industry has awards and means of recognising the achievements of companies within the industry. Prepaid is no different. The Global Prepaid exchange Awards, which started in 2008, is now a yearly event that recognises on a global scale the programmes and innovation within prepaid over the previous year. www.prepaidawards.com

The event is held in London and brings together prepaid players from around the world. This year’s event was held on the 11 October at the Lancaster Hotel in Hyde Park London. The day consisted of a conference that included talks from industry experts and leaders. The evening is a black-tie affair hosting companies and guests that have been nominated for awards.

This year Tutuka was nominated as a finalist in two categories, Global Leading Prepaid Innovation for our ClaimsCard www.claimscard.co.za programme and Global leading Corporate Programme for NuCard www.nucard.co.za. Having also won the leading prepaid organisation for Central Europe, Middle East And Africa in 2011 we were thrilled for the two new finalist categories.

We did not win the grand prize in both categories but were still honoured to have the nominations. The event could be followed on Twitter #PPA2012 .

Well done to all the winners at the awards. We will certainly be back next year to compete and scoop up some more for one of our programmes.

We decided to take a look at the Pocit mobile payments system in order to see where this great service is going. They’ve recently launched the ability to pay for your store accounts via your mobile phone. We take a look at the process:

1) Dial *120*3636# from mobile device(ussd setup)

2) Receive balance (database of available participating retail groups).

3) The following gets displayed: Closing balance, due date, amount due.

4) Select options from menu ( a)Pay due amount , b) Pay own amount , c) See bill detail)

5) Next step asks you what amount you would like to pay (I opted for the amount outstanding on my account)

6) Choose bank

7) Choose type of account

8) Enter bank account number

9) ID number

10) Confirmation screen

11) Thank you screen

The Pocit store card payment service is very helpful and convenient for people on the go whom might not have access to their internet banking, or even to go to a Edgars Store to pay cash. The process is simple however the website option did not work. Fortunately this is less of a problem as you can use the cellphone process as a basic entry point.

Pro’s:

• Simple to use, user-friendly menu.

• No computer needed, normal network connection on phone.

• Confirmation sms sent through to cellphone.

• The Pocit system currently has the Edcon and Mr Price group on board with their system, therefore should pick up accounts related to them

• The “see bill detail” option gives you the chance to view your purchases for the month thus far, as well as available credit (step 4)

Con’s:

• The amount will come off your bank account the following day, and will reflect on your intended destination in 2 days

• USSD connection costs are not are not displayed. One would have to wait till your cellphone bill comes through to view the charges

• Τhere is a mobile app, but it charges R5 a month as an administration charge and was difficult to download.

• The Pocit system currently only has the 2 groups stated above, but yet I have Mr Price accounts – it did not pick them up when I tried my email address and cell number.

With a wide array of credit and debit cards and now mobile money becoming popular why would you use a prepaid card? Here are five reasons that will convince you that prepaid is the way forward:

  • No debt

As your card comes loaded up with funds before you start using it you can only spend that amount. If you get carried away and spend more than you originally expected you won’t be caught in a debt spiral as you potentially could with a credit card.

  • Safety

Carrying cash around always has its dangers; the same can be said for someone copying your credit or debit card. With some prepaid cards you still require a pin code and in addition if somehow your pin is exposed you’re limited to how much money you can have stolen.

  • Travel

A great way to keep within a budget for a holiday is to load up a prepaid card with the amount you’re looking to spend. You can never exceed that limit and you don’t have to worry about withdrawing cash.

  • Kids

Teach your kids the ability to budget and spend wisely by giving them their allowance on a prepaid card. They won’t be able to abuse your credit card and will learn valuable budgeting skills.

  • Gifts

Prepaid cards make for fantastic gifts. Give a friend or loved one a mall gift card and they have the option to buy from any store in that mall.

There are some fantastic benefits in both giving and receiving prepaid cards, many of which you won’t find with regular credit and debit cards. Prepaid is growing rapidly and promises to be part of the next big wave of payment tools.

How prepaid saved me!

Rowan —  October 9, 2012 — Leave a comment

I did not think it was possible, but this week, two of my bank cards were skimmed and used fraudulently at the same time. The banks put a freeze on my accounts, and I was told to wait five working days for my new cards.

I had no real access to cash, and over the weekend too, plus I was also attending a good friend’s bridal shower and needed money for gifts and the event. Fortunately I could still make EFTs, and ordered a prepaid card product, Paycard (www.paycard.co.za)

The card arrived in a day and I did my EFT into the card at 4pm on Friday afternoon. To my surprise it was available for loading on Saturday morning. I was excited to have access to cash after going three days without. The card was loaded and I was able to hit the shops and withdraw money. The prepaid card was slightly expensive, costing R16 per load, but the point-of-sales fees were free.

After the weekend my bank cards still hadn’t arrived so I topped up the prepaid card. This proved to be a real deal saver as I needed to apply and pay for a visa at the UK embassy. I needed the visa urgently and could not wait the usual three weeks for it to arrive.

To expedite your visa you have to pay an addition R695, so I went to the visa office with the cash. To my surprise they refused to take the cash and would only accept a debit or credit card product.

Thankfully I had my prepaid card, and could use it. The alternative would have been to rebook my appointment at the UK Embassy, and run the risk of not receiving the visa in time for my work trip.

I always knew prepaid cards had huge benefits, but now I’m truly thankful!

Drisha Nair