Archives For August 2013

facecash-iphone

Today we look at FaceCash, a payment application for mobile devices. Users upload a photo and send money from their bank accounts to FaceCash. This image is displayed on the user’s mobile device, along with a barcode.

How does it work?

You select on the phone app, how much you would like to spend at the store. At the point of sale, the photo is downloaded (just a computer with a web browser using the web-based FaceCash Point of Sale interface) so that merchants can verify the user’s identity and charge their FaceCash account accordingly. Integration to the point of sale is required.

Pro’s:

  • A visual identification of a consumer, for approval of a payment
  • A flat transaction fee for merchants
  • Ability to integrate to a rewards program
  • Free web-based point of sale for merchants
  • Free person to person funds transfer

The FaceCash application is one that takes payments to a more visual level, with an ease of sight to collect a payment for a transaction. We hope it reaches our shores soon, so that we can give it a try…

If I were a spa…

prelin —  August 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

In a few recent blog posts on instant, self service prepaid accounts and how they are used in the various industries (E.g If I were a retailer & If I were a hotel) we highlighted how easy it is to create prepaid accounts – the beauty & health industries are not too far off.

The use of Tutuka’s new self-service function on its website for private label prepaid cards is growing across industries, and its ability to place the power to create prepaid accounts at the click of a button is increasing in demand.

Just hit the ‘Instant Prepaid Accounts’ tab. Sign-up takes less than three minutes, hundreds of card numbers can be created in seconds and there are no middle-men.

If I were a spa

What would you do with these cards?

Let’s imagine I’m a health & beauty spa. I would first use instant private label gift cards to issue complimentary treatment’s, as well as to sell them so that individuals or corporates can get them as gifts.

Why?

  • No more confusion on whether the voucher has expired, or if it has already been used
  • Easier administration of vouchers that are sold or even given away as a freebee
  • Moving forward onto a paperless system

How?

  • My first step is to create card numbers on the Tutuka website
  • I could print these numbers onto anything from paper vouchers to plastic cards or scented leaf-shaped cards(to add to the relaxation theme)
  • Once existing clientele have finished with their treatment, you may issue them with a voucher for other treatments that are not so common, promoting the use of the service as well as offering them an opportunity to come back
  • A gift card can be sold, to customers who wish to give a treatment as a gift
  • The card is scanned or swiped for the payment of these treatments

Rewards, gifts, incentives
There are several other uses for prepaid cards within a hotel environment.

1-    Hotel gift cards

  • For corporate entities as prizes for customers
  • For corporate entities as incentives for employees
  • For the general public as gifts
  • For my management to give to loyal guests

2-    Rewards cards

  • Reward loyal guests for continued business
  • Swipe anytime they use a hotel in my chain
  • Swipes help them build up points or monetary value
  • Exchange points for a spa gift card, a discount on their next visit or perhaps a free night’s stay

3-    Incentive cards

  • For my employees
  • Source of motivation
  • Employee of the month will receive a free meal at our 5 star restaurant or a treatment at our spa
  • Both could be presented to them in the form of a pre-loaded gift card

4-    Staff lunch cards

  •  I previously hand-wrote physical slips for each staff member for the daily staff lunch
  •  Now I can issue them with meal vouchers
  •  Vouchers are redeemed using the website’s control panel

As easy as:

1- Go to Tutuka’s website

website3 (640x438)

2- Set your login details

signup (800x363)

(NB: yes, you will be derided for weak passwords)

3- Done

done2

You can now create, load and redeem closed loop* prepaid card accounts at your leisure.

create3

load2

Swift and simple, the prepaid process is both easy and beneficial with Tutuka.

*closed loop cards are those issued by a specific merchant and can only be redeemed at that same merchant.

South Africa has over 10 million unbanked citizens, a mobile penetration rate per unique subscriber of more than 66% and a total mobile connections rate of 138% [GSMA: October 2012].

The perfect landscape for mobile money solutions, right?

Then why have we not seen the success with mobile money transfers that other African countries have? A few attempts have been made at models that worked exceptionally in other markets on the continent, but not nearly with the same degree of success.

M-Pesa Kenya versus M-Pesa South Africa is a clear enough indication.

Safaricom launched M-Pesa in Kenya in 2007 and the service is now being used by over 17 million Kenyans. Apart from Kenya, M-Pesa is starting to do well in other countries, including Tanzania and Afghanistan.

The Economist previously cited several reasons why Kenya has been so successful in this venture.

  • The high cost of sending money via other methods
  • The dominant market position of Safaricom
  • Allowance by the regulator for the scheme to initially proceed on an experimental basis without formal approval
  • A clear and effective marketing campaign
  • An efficient system to move cash around behind the scenes
  • The post-election violence in the country in 2008- M-Pesa was used to transfer money to people trapped in Nairobi’s slums at the time
  • Network effects- as more people used it, it made sense for others to sign up

SA could conceivably emulate some of these characteristics (I’d rather we skip the violence thanks). So why hasn’t it been as successful here? Well, simply because SA isn’t Kenya.

This imperative point was seemingly overlooked with implementation in SA. What works for one country doesn’t necessarily work for the other, especially when a carbon copy type approach is adopted.

It’s like saying that just because two girls are from the same family, one dress will suit them both perfectly- not taking into account their different shapes, colouring and sizes. While there might be some similarities between them, the dress would no doubt have to be tailored to suit the specific physique of each girl.

The same goes for any innovation or development in a country. It must be moulded to suit the needs, environment and demographics of that specific country.

Delete customer costs

This blanket view of African nations is, however, not the sole point that can be held accountable for SA’s slow uptake in this ripe area.

There are several of these and one of the most glaring ones is the high cost of transaction fees. This is especially problematic when considering the economic level of the target market and the amount of money they would need to transfer at a time.

The small amounts of money they want to transfer can’t justify the large fees they must pay to do so.

In an interview with ITWeb, Nnamdi Oranye, business development manager at telecoms consultancy Indian Atlantic, said transaction fees should be waived completely.

“A money transfer revolution is happening in Africa, but short-sightedness is scuppering what could be a trans-continental economic success story. Traditional ways of thinking about how to generate profit are blinding financial institutions to the vast possibilities that mobile money transfers offer across Africa and the developing world.”

He instead suggests linking the free service to paid adverts, offering attractive paid products in conjunction to the free service, or allowing the basic transaction service for free but implementing a payment structure when frequent use by that subscriber is detected or when they want to use it for business purposes.

Other issues standing in the way of a South African mobile money transfer success story are the integration required on the banking side to connect to the digital wallet, money-laundering concerns and legislation.

With the need for financial inclusion in SA, mobile money solutions have a huge role to play in bringing the formal economy to the unbanked. So let’s try it again.

 done

 Samsung’s fairly new Wallet is now available on the Google Play store.

The company created the wallet in response to Passbook that was launched by Apple for iOS.

A little competition is always good for the industry but the six-month old product is, at present, limited to the Galaxy S III, Galaxy S IV, Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 2.

Samsung introduced the Wallet app in February this year and released the app in the Samsung Apps store in May.

It offers a virtual storage space that allows the management of event tickets, mobile boarding passes, loyalty cards and coupons.

Users can redeem passes and coupons by opening the app to display bar codes that are scanned at payment and check-in terminals.

The Wallet also features push notifications that remind users about coupons and tickets as they become relevant and that updates items like boarding passes that are already logged into it if details change. The notifications are also location based and so will alert users when Wallet-friendly stores, theatres or hotels are nearby.

Samsung’s Wallet has an open API, allowing easy integration for partners. The app also syncs all stored data across Samsung devices.

Despite the name, Samsung Wallet does not include mobile payment capabilities. However, earlier this year, Samsung said it will pre-install Visa’s NFC payWave app on all future smartphones.

Pros:

  • Essentially a virtual voucher manager
  • Allows ease of access to digital coupons and tickets in one space
  • Reminders about tickets so those bought long in advance are not forgotten
  • Location alerts when Wallet partners are nearby

 

Cons:

  • Only available in the US so far

The cool corner

Farzana Rasool —  August 8, 2013 — Leave a comment

More and more I think the story about the little elves who come out quietly at night and make/mend shoes was inspired by developers.

They work in the background, take none of the glory and are a critical component in achieving the end result.

Despite their attempts to remain under the radar, at Tutuka we decided our brilliant elves needed a new ‘workbench’.

This is how their new space turned out:

IMG_7520

IMG_7507

Because one screen is never enough

IMG_7523

And neither is one keyboard…nor two apparently

IMG_7521

They have space to keep all the necessary documents and odds and ends

IMG_7519

And also some space to express their cool sides

Speaking of cool:

IMG_7516

IMG_7526

Review -> Testing -> Live-> Slam dunk!

IMG_7525

Teamwork

slide_template_041

The World Bank called Africa’s financial services inadequate and inaccessible because there is no strong banking infrastructure and a large portion of the population has no access to computers, smartphones or the internet.

For this reason, the mobile payments industry in Africa is booming.

However, mobile solutions still need to be able to work with the unreliable networks, poor internet connections, and screen-illiterate users that characterise most of Africa.

Keeping these key points in mind, South African start up, Nomanini, aims to replace physical airtime scratch cards with mobile point-of-sale (POS) terminals in Africa.

430079_357676657597479_1789944567_n

CEO and founder Vahid Monadjem has been quoted as saying the mobile revolution in Africa most likely would not have happened without the airtime scratch card.

However there is room for improvement on this method since scratch cards include complex manufacturing procedures, like the application of scratch-off wax. These procedures, together with transport considerations, result in heavy costs.

 Nomanini’s portable airtime vending machine works wirelessly. Users simply have to press the required type and amount of airtime and then press the enter button to send the transaction through.

how-it-works2

The airtime voucher number is delivered to the terminal after interaction with the simple interface and is printed instantly on standard thermal receipt paper.

Called the ‘Lula’, the orange box also supplies prepaid vouchers for electricity, water, and insurance.

People can buy one of these boxes and set up a mini-business to supplement their incomes. In December 2012, 40 000 people purchased airtime through the Lula.

Nomanini says its Lula terminal is designed for informal market users, is fully mobile and can even be worn around the neck. Owners of the boxes can sell the vouchers anywhere, from their homes to minibus taxis, or simply on the street. This means the terminals can be used to provide airtime to those living in rural areas with no easy access to stores.

They then deposit their earnings into a Nomanini account to reload the terminal and earn a commission on all of their sales. The terminal costs about $200.

 Pros:

  • No Internet access or bank account required
  • Simple interface
  • Instant transaction
  • Reduced manufacturing and transport costs
  • Opportunity for informal entrepreneurs
  • Fully mobile so can serve rural communities