Standard Bank reports sharp rise in mobile payments
Standard Bank has seen the number of payments to mobile wallets in Kenya on behalf of its clients increase by 300 percent in 2013 with both Kenya and Nigeria leading other African nations in terms of the adoption of mobile payment technology.
This is a growing trend that is helping the two countries introduce more unbanked citizens to formal financial services according to Sachin Shah, Head of Cash Management Products at Standard Bank.
In Nigeria, Standard Bank has started a mobile payments pilot project with two clients and facilitated over 4bn naira worth of payments this year, putting it at the forefront of the country’s central bank policy of promoting a cashless society.
Shah said: “As a percentage of the population, Kenya and Nigeria, are really leading the way in terms of the adoption of mobile payment systems in Africa.
“Nigeria’s sheer scale and the early adoption of the systems in Kenya means however that both countries are well placed to leverage this growth potential and the associated benefits.
“Multinational corporations operating in Africa are increasingly looking at ways to eliminate the risk of carrying and transporting cash and the use of mobile wallets to facilitate cashless payments is a cost-effective and efficient way of doing this.”
Multinational corporations in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector are particularly interested in rolling out mobile payment solutions as it allows them to distribute their products in remote areas without having to take the risk of transporting cash, said Mr Shah.
Standard Bank is helping to facilitate the adoption of mobile payment technology by establishing partnerships with telecommunications companies across the continent.
According to Wayne Cook, the Product Head for Cash Management, CFC Stanbic Bank in Kenya, Mobile payment is becoming a valid substitute for carrying cash in many parts of Africa and we’re even seeing foreign aid agencies utilising this payment method to conduct their day to day activities.
“It’s an easy and safe way to ensure that funds reach their intended recipients, which make it an ideal solution for companies that have large workforces requiring weekly or monthly wage and salary payments.”
Shah said Kenya has only 1,500 bank branches countrywide compared to more than 40,000 mobile payment agents that facilitate the exchange mobile money for cash and vice versa.
Standard Bank expects the gap between the number of bank account holders and mobile wallet holders in Africa to continue to widen over the next two to three years, as more telecommunications companies roll out technology that facilitates mobile payments.
“The conversion from mobile wallets to formal bank accounts will follow as soon as other capabilities like loans, savings and insurance can be made available through the mobile phone.
“Ultimately, this will increase access to financial services. That in turn opens up the opportunity to offer increased access to savings accounts, personal loans and even mortgages over time.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.