Archives For February 2013

ChaseBank

While mobile banking has its roots in Africa there is also a massive rise in the usage of prepaid cards in the rest of the continent in order to help students and the underbanked.

Chase Bank Limited in Kenya and UNISCOO (University Students Community Organization) have announced a partnership to launch a MasterCard prepaid card available to its members. The UNISCOO card will allow users to top up and shop at any MasterCard enabled physical or online merchant The Card is aimed at giving the user an easy way to manage funds that is both convenient and secure.

According to the Finscope Rwanda 2012 survey, financial exclusion in Kenya stands at 33%. This indicates an opportunity for financial institutions to extend financial inclusion to the youth who have previously been excluded from formal banking. The youth are now being offered an opportunity to be economically empowered and enjoy the benefits of electronic payments in ways that are congruent with their lifestyles and demands.

Topping up the card can be done at any Chase Bank Branch as well as through M-Pesa and Airtel Money at no additional cost. The card also acts as an ID card for all UNISCOO members and with the UNISCOO Pre-paid MasterCard card students will have access to discounts at partner outlets

This is a really fascinating development as not only does it allow for consumers to have access to set amounts of cash but also to benefit from the likes of discounts and using the card as an ID. These two innovations alone make the card a worthwhile service and we can’t wait to see these types of cards taking off in Africa.

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Weview Wednesday: Gust

prelin —  February 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

gustpay logo

We’re always fascinated in new payment solutions and South African based Gust is particularly fascinating. Gust describe themselves as a “quick and easy mobile payment experience. Pay with your smartphone. Frictionless. Cashless. Paperless.”

Gust consists of three interesting apps:

  • Gust Pay: a mobile payment experience for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. Pay with two taps and a swipe.
  • Gust Finder: helps you find and navigate to nearby Gust Merchants. It offers a 2D map view, merchant and specials list.
  • Gust PayPoint: lets merchants request and accept payments with an intuitive workflow. Load your stock item database and process orders with a user-friendly touch screen POS system.

How to use it:

Using an iPhone we were able to download the various Gust applications. While the company is currently in beta we’re looking specifically at Gust Finder as we could not create an account using Gust Pay. The app is available for Android and iOS and while it currently only shows locations in Stellenbosch the app can show you where the closest merchant that accepts Gust payments is located. You can filter via food or beverages and then get a map where to go. Payment happens through the Gust Pay application and is location based so you see the merchants in the payment app when you are close by.

Pro’s:

  • Available on multiple platforms
  • Useful for purchasing food or drink when low on cash
  • Safety aspects
  • Useful for a merchant as they can see exactly what items are being purchased via Gust Pay and offer specials
  • Special offers can be found using the service

Con’s:

  • No Blackberry Gust Finder app (although there is a payment app)
  • Limited currently to Stellenbosch while in Beta
  • No ability to get money out of an ATM

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As part of our focus on mobile banking we’re looking at the Deloitte study on the topic and how to maximise revenue. For more information download the rest here.

  1. Banks now have the potential to expand beyond their physical stores as well as ability to cross sell and up-sell products to existing customers. Not only is this a revenue generator but a loyalty and CRM tool.
  2. Banks have an amazing view of what their customers buy and where they like to shop. Merchants could employ such aggregated information to target customers more effectively than they might through other means. In addition, banks could use this knowledge of their core customers to strengthen their own abilities to acquire new customers, cross-sell existing customers, improve decisioning capabilities and provide better customer service — resulting in significant value streams for banks.
  3. Mobile banking could provide bank customers with the ability to compare options at time and place of purchase. At the same time, banks could offer these shoppers complementary services, such as financing or leasing options, insurance quotes (through partnerships) and more.
  4. Banks could conduct targeted marketing campaigns to customers who use mobile banking. For example, banks could pinpoint shoppers’ physical locations to make relevant offers to their customers, such as offering them temporary line increases.

The report is fascinating as it delves into demographics and other useful information on the topic of mobile banking.

Sync-American-Express-600x505

In an amazing move for both Twitter and American Express, users of the card can now synchronise with Twitter can take advantage of offers “tweeted” by the financial services company.

American Express will promote products in messages fired off at Twitter. Card holders buy items by tweeting indicated hashtags, with their accounts being charged accordingly.

“We’re leveraging our unique technology and closed-loop network to introduce a seamless solution that redefines what’s possible in the world of social commerce,” said American Express senior vice president Leslie Berland.

The sales started Wednesday, Feb. 13 and Amex Sync provided their first five products on Twitter including an Amazon Kindle Fire HD, Xbox 360 4GB console with game tokens, Sony Action Cam with waterproof headband mount and the Urban Zen Bracelet designed by Donna Karen all for vastly discounted prices. The Twitter sale will last until March 3 or when items become sold out.

The first step is to visit the Amex Sync site, where you link your card to your Twitter account. You can also link it to your Facebook and Foursquare accounts if you want to get special offers, but you can’t buy from those social media sites in the way you can with Twitter:

Ready to buy? The instructions are technically contained within each offer. You tweet the hashtag associated with an offer to start the purchase. You start the tweet as a reply to and then adding the hashtag. After that you get a reply on Twitter back from Amex telling you to confirm the order. After that, an email confirmation of the order arrives and eventually so does your product.

Weview Wednesday: TravelWallet

prelin —  February 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

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Stemming from our article last week titled “The hottest accessory for travelling, we have reviewed a product that would benefit all those who want to minimize the headache and worry about carrying cash abroad – Standard Bank’s Travel Wallet.

TravelWallet is a prepaid MasterCard that offers you the security and convenience of an ATM and payment card. You can swipe your card wherever you see the MasterCard sign. You can also withdraw money at any ATM bearing the Cirrus or MasterCard logo giving you access to your money wherever you are in the world, at any time. TravelWallet is available in Euros, US Dollars, Pound Sterling and Australian dollars.

How to register?

To register/sign up for a TravelWallet, simply complete the application form found here, and hand in to your nearest branch or Forex Outlet, or call 0861 201 311.

 

Pro’s
  • You can draw money in the currency of the country you are visiting at any MasterCard ATM
  • The money in your TravelWallet is available to you 24/7, it can be withdrawn at ATM’s. or swiped at merchants for goods and services.
  • You can request an emergency cash advance
  • There are no transaction fees for swiping at MasterCard merchants
  • If your card is lost or stolen, it can be stopped and replaced
  • Before you leave on your trip, you can make arrangements with a Standard Bank foreign exchange outlet to load extra money to your card, provided you do not exceed your annual travel allowance.
  • Statements are available online, and your balance is just an SMS away
Con’s
  • There may be a currency conversion fee if the currency you are paying is different from the currency loaded on your card as a foreign exchange transaction will take place. The exchange rate will be the same as that offered by MasterCard on that date.
The TravelWallet cards are reloadable, and have an expiry of 3 years, with these as factors it would be a great tool for businessmen, backpackers and travellers alike. Visit http://www.standardbank.co.za/travelwallet to have a look at this offering.

PrePaidMaster

Making sure you get the best deal of a prepaid card is important to us at Tutuka. We provide some of the top prepaid cards in the country however as a user it’s important to consider certain issues about prepaid cards. Here’s how you can make sure you choose the best for your needs:

Monthly fees

Not all prepaid cards have monthly fees however it’s important you make sure they don’t or are very low. Ideally you would like to pay the smallest monthly fee possible, but if you have to swallow a fee somewhere a small monthly fee is usually an acceptable alternative and allows you to easily budget the cost of your card.

Transaction fees

Each card has a different transaction fee (most larger card programs would allow for free swipes at merchants) but if you plan to frequently use the card for small purchases this can get expensive if you are charged per transaction.

Deposit fees and withdrawals

Some cards charge to reload your card. If you need to make frequent cash withdrawals, choose a card that allows access to ATMs, but be aware of withdrawal fees. Find a card with a large network of ATMs and offers free or low withdrawals.

Everyone has a different requirement and finding a card with no monthly, transaction, deposit or withdrawal fees might be close to impossible. Choose what works best for your needs and get the card that fits your lifestyle.

PocketPOS-printer-and-electronic-only-model-640

We’ve spoken before about the rise of mobile credit/debit/prepaid card readers such as Square and locally both ABSA and Nedbank are releasing the mobile readers in 2013. The question is, what are the benefits of these mobile readers and how are they changing the way we both sell and buy?

A perfect example is a case study done by Square in the United States. They gave a Square card reader to Josh Lattimer who routinely lost more than a few outside sales at his Car Care Now detailing business because he only took cash or checks for payment.

But since going to the Square, a small credit card reader that attaches to either his smartphone or his wife’s iPad, his outside sales — where he goes to customers rather than them coming to him — have risen. There’s more money in his bank account and fewer missed opportunities, he said.

“I’d say 90 percent of our outside customers pay with debit cards,” he said. “It definitely has kept us a lot busier for sure. Before, I would have to tell them either cash or check, and that caused me to miss out on some business.”

Whether you’re a college kid looking to make it easy for your friends to pay you back after buying lunch or a round of beers, an artist selling your work at a fair or out of your car, or a major retailer with multiple staff members, mobile applications and card readers offer new point-of-sale options.

Larger merchants also love the idea as having someone who can walk around with what’s essentially a cash register can improve sales, too. When the cash register comes to the customer, impulse buying tends to rise.

Not only are these services convenient they also offer great analytics about payments and information such as what products sell best and when can be worked out.

In the future the clunky cash register and fixed card reader may be a thing of the past.