Just had an interesting presentation by Tim Lambertstock at the BCS on “The Changing Face of Payments” – how payments are made (yesterday and the USA: cheques / checks; today: cards) and interbank transactions achieved (e.g. SWIFT). And of course, future payments through mobile phones and Near Field Communications. Interestingly this corresponded with a recent TIBCO Kabira presentation about the increasing role of mobile payment systems…
- 2.5Bn of 4.7Bn people in the world do not use financial services – and 88% of these non-users are in Africa, Middle East, Asia and C&S America.
- Conventional channels for banking services are too expensive: consider a branch cost of $250K or ATM at $10K, serving an audience whose daily income may be $5…
On the other hand, mobile phones and telcos are developing apace in the “developing world”:
- Mobile phone ownership across parts of Africa has gone from 4% to 51% in the last 8 years (!!!), reaching 70% of adults last year.
- Mobile payment systems have been set up for example in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Pakistan already.
One of the concerns that Tim mentioned about this “future world” for payment systems was security. On the other hand, if they can roll this out successfully in Nigeria then we probably should worry about something else!