The Rise of Mobile Wallets

Have you ever been stranded in the city, no cash in your wallet and no ATM nearby? No-one likes long lines or delays as part of their purchasing journey and that is where the development of mobile wallets or e-wallet transactions come in. A mobile wallet is a payment service through which transactions can be received and sent via mobile phones. Most mobile wallets require a first step of manually entering credit card information into the application to begin making payments. It is a form of e-commerce model that is designed to be used with mobile devices due to their convenience and easy access. Mobile wallets now process billions of payments worldwide. As the payment technology becomes less expensive and cash use continues to decline, mobile wallet use will only continue to grow.

Mobile Wallets in Southern Africa

South Africa has also started to embrace this worldwide trend. In South Africa, mobile devices rule the market with more than half of South Africans owning their own smartphones. Therefore, it only makes sense for mobile wallets to grow in popularity. Tech businesses like Zapper and SnapScan developed out of this popularity. When you find a Zapper QR Code on your bill, scan it with Zapper and confirm the amount to be paid. Your payment card details are stored on your phone using secure encryption. Whether you’re paying for a meal in a restaurant, a bill at home or paying for a taxi, the experience is the same. Similar, SnapScan, which started in 2013, allows businesses to accept payments from customers through their smartphones.

One example of South African businesses embracing mobile wallets is Maverick Coffee in Johannesburg who were concerned about what impact large amounts of cash would have on the safety of their staff. Therefore, at their permanent locations, they decided to go cashless; allowing customers to pay either by card, Zapper or SnapScan.

Mobile wallet technology boosts convenience for consumers and card issuers alike, however for many customer security is always on their mind. However, today’s mobile wallet apps use encryption technology similar to that used by the newer chip cards. To make a payment you need to unlock your device and then enter your wallet’s password or use its fingerprint authenticator.

Mobile wallets may still be in their infancy in many countries, but the use of technology and features that improve the user experience will drive higher adoption and engagement.