Next year personal financial management will move into an entirely new phase of development. Service providers within this competitive space say the continuous focus on research and development and rollout of offerings has helped lay the foundation for growth – and the market looks set to attract more operators.
The surge in interest in mobile devices and increasing interest in social media has opened up the social payment market in a major way.
It was really only a matter of time before these resources converged, offering the user all the advantages of an immediate, secure and virtual channel through which to manage finances.
Service providers are taking advantage of the maturity of the mobile services market and the availability of solutions to construct platforms and offerings to entice the consumer.
Across Africa and in rural areas specifically, the concept of using digital solutions to help manage personal finance makes sense. This is because credible social payment platforms offer consumers a cost-effective way to send and receive money – it is also beneficial because people do not have to carry cash on their persons, thus avoiding any security issues.
Social payment platforms have mushroomed in several key regions throughout the continent – specifically mobile-intensive environments including Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.
Looking ahead there is every reason to believe certain trends will emerge to influence this segment of the market.
Leaders in this space, like Robert Sussman, who is joint CEO of ZunguZ, agree that aspects such as NFC and the convergence of loyalty and reward offerings with payment systems will dominate this space going forward.
“Businesses are likely to take advantage of this trend and exploit innovation to offer consumers significant value. Access to online resources continues to be a focus throughout Africa, particularly social networks. Add to this the convenience and awareness of payment services and it is a combination that really works,” says Sussman.
According to statistics supplied through research by international social media and digital analytics company, Socialbaker, of the now over one billion Facebook users, 488-million (54%) of users access the social network via mobile platforms.
ZunguZ is a multi-tier person-to-person payment solution converged with social network giant Facebook. The offering has been established to provide users linked with social network Web sites with the ability to handle personal finance via the social network channel.
From a practical consumer point of view, users can access their accounts, withdraw finances and make payments to other users over a highly secure mechanism.
This is where personal finance is heading and there is evidence to suggest it will continue to be a high-growth, high-impact area fuelling further investment across Africa.