In Kenya, over 25% of its $78-billion gross national product flows through M-Pesa transactions. Around one-third of Kenya’s population uses the service to transfer small amounts of money to other people and merchants via their mobiles. This mobile-based digital payment has become the de facto mode of payment in Kenya. The user exchanges his/her cash for electronic value at retail stores run by an agent, just like they do for recharging their phone’s airtime. M-Pesa has over 60,000 agents in its network, where its users can deposit and withdraw cash easily.
The functionality of the wallet extends beyond basic payment capabilities. Options include adding digital storage for ID cards, driver licenses, and other items carried in traditional wallets. The Osaifu-Ketai wallet developed by NTT DOCOMO in Japan, for example, includes electronic money, credit cards, loyalty cards, and electronic fare collection for public transit systems.
The American Express cards stored within Apple Pay enable transaction updates when the cards are used even outside the wallet; providing mobile controls for the consumer with a live record of all their transactions. A few countries are even considering the issuance of personal IDs that could be stored in digital wallets.
With the copious amounts of technology and choice at the fingertips of today’s instantaneous traveller, transport service operators must ensure that they stay relevant, personalised and, above all else. Aside from the plethora of benefits in terms of smoother journeys and tailored incentives, operators can provide their customers with the security of their tickets and money kept on one mobile platform, eliminating the need to pull out wallets, cash and cards when travelling. At a time when security is considered a top priority when travelling, operators can provide their customers with additional peace of mind, knowing that their ‘wallet’ can exist on a slim device in their pockets.
Society nowadays is growing in digitisation and the concept of a totally cashless world is nearly a reality, with mobile wallets and contactless payments quickly evolving into social norms. Through smart customer interaction and making intelligent use of the data from consumers, the service providers can generate rapidly increasing profits, greater efficiency and customer loyalty through providing their patrons with real-time congestion updates, streamlined payment methods and ultimately superior customer services. What’s fuelling this optimism is the fact that India is one of the fastest-growing markets for smartphones in the world. It is expected to become the second largest market by 2017 – replacing the United States.