Business opportunities in the real time payment market are fast evolving and will continue to do so as consumer behaviour matures. Juniper Research has sized the escalating mobile payments market at $240-billion this year and expects it to almost triple in value by 2015.
The Real Time Payment Platform (RTPP) market, especially business models supporting real time payments, has evolved rapidly and with varying degrees of consumer adoption; and mobile financial transactions are already proving to be a fertile ground for operators in emerging and mature markets.
Altech ISIS GM Anton van Heerden says the speed of adoption is critical. “Once a payment network has achieved critical mass, it will be very difficult for new entrants to catch up and compete. This can be measured in terms of the number of active subscribers, revenue-generating transaction volume or partners in an ecosystem.”
In South Africa, the spectrum of adoption stretches across geographies and is extremely broad due to cultural differences, local regulations and disparity in the maturity of telecommunications and financial services infrastructure.
As a result, organisations that want to adopt a RTTP need an open and flexible real time payment processing architecture that will readily support the rollout of new applications and services whenever the opportunities arise.
“Winners in this marketplace will be those who have built a flexible and agile infrastructure that allows for the profitable delivery of specialised services, and the ability to easily and cost-efficiently scale as subscriber bases grow,” he explains.
The RTPP is at the core of the transaction processing infrastructure, it enables transaction management, distributed transaction processing, object replication and mirroring and data and service high-availability.
He says real time payment applications are mission critical and require 100% uptime. “Success means 24 X 7 availability on a low-cost infrastructure. “RTPP relieves service providers of the technical issues of building and maintaining the interfaces between the external vendors and their own billing systems, allowing them to concentrate on their core business.”
RTTP is a flexible and agile infrastructure that allows for the profitable delivery of specialised services and the ability to easily and cost-efficiently scale as subscriber bases grow. Furthermore, an open and flexible real time payment processing architecture readily supports the rollout of new applications and services whenever the opportunities arise.
Van Heerden says collection of subscription payments can be extended to include non-banking institutions such as retail outlets and post offices.“No resources are required to develop and maintain these multiple interfaces and a web service interface enables near real time feedback on the success of any transaction.”
“It is crucial for operators to select their enabling technologies carefully. They must ensure that they have the ability to quickly roll out services which will prove to be early revenue generators, while maintaining the flexibility to introduce new products which meet diverse, evolving subscriber demands. Getting this service mix wrong could be a costly mistake, and could cause an operator to lose first-mover advantage in the fast-moving market,” he says.