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Social payment platforms: the future of banking

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The relevance of mobile payment platforms and banking via social media offers brick and mortar banks a clear opportunity to expand their service portfolios and capitalise on a new generation of e-bankers.
This is the view of local entrepreneur Robert Sussman, joint CEO behind the deeply integrated Facebook multi-tier mobile payment platform, ZunguZ.
He believes the global trend of consumers using disruptive technology and social networks as a primary channel through which to transact and manage accounts is a clear indication that the financial services market has evolved.
Consumers are now using established, credible platforms and the integration of mobile solutions (like smartphones and tablet PCs) to transact and manage accounts – basic banking services that were previously the exclusive domain of banking institutions, says Sussman.
“Mobile payment platforms are not banks and they have not be established to replace banks. Our value proposition is that we partner with banks to help them embrace the social platform and expand their service offerings to new markets in order to convert new customers. It is about helping these institutions to leverage off this trend and extract maximum value from expanded client services,” he explains.
This is where ZunguZ is positioned to add value. The platform offers the technology and expertise to help banks migrate onto the social graph (the point at which payment technology converges with social networks) and capitalise on the interest of mobile-driven consumers.
Sussman points to international media reports focusing on tech companies entering the banking and financial market with mobile offerings that support e-banking, including Google Wallet and Apple.
Experts forecast that the rise of the social graph will facilitate the replacement of payments via credit cards as soon as 2020.
Management behind ZunguZ believes the inherent strength of developing economies, such as that of Nigeria, demonstrates just how solid the opportunity of social banking can be.
“Research on Internet World Stats shows the country has 45-million users of the Internet, and 4,3-million users of Facebook alone. This represents a 29% penetration into the population – a very definite increase in the users of mobile technology and a market ripe for the kind of offering we are talking about. Banks need to take cognisance of this,” adds Sussman.
Media reports mention the relevance of early adopters of this technology and the power it offers in reaching a wider market. These social platforms can be used to distribute targeted services, including vouchers and discount offers.
“Mobile payment platforms and the social network is an effective mechanism of engaging with target markets. Whereas traditional forms of marketing and advertising were largely based on a ‘hit and miss’ strategy, the social graph is more accurate, more deliberate and calculated – and, therefore, more effective,” Sussman concludes.