A few days ago, I read a tweet by Mr Mo that inspired me to look at the subject of banking/financial services/payments that we can use on our awesome mobile devices. Here is the tweet in question:
— Mr. Mo (@Mister_Mobility) November 30, 2012
Mr. Mo will have to forgive me for putting him under the spotlight like this, but when I read that tweet, I asked myself, “When was the last time I bought and scratched a recharge card?” Honestly, I cannot remember. But here was my Mobile Geek with other alternatives to topping his airtime. So I thought to share with us what financial services we could use on our mobile devices to make our lives easier. Hopefully, someone like Mr Mo can avoid having younger women call him ‘daddy’, though I do not see how the airtime vendor was wrong! :p
Mobile Financial Services as the name suggests are tools or platforms designed to provide financial services via a mobile device (phones and tablets). These are categorized into two, though both are used interchangeably. They are (1) Mobile Banking, and (2) Mobile Payment. I won’t forget to mention Internet banking which could also be done on your mobile devices (I do that a lot).
This is a use of your mobile device to gain access to banking services such as balance enquiry, mini statements, funds transfers, airtime top ups (for my Mr. Mo), bill payments, etc. While the user interface may differ fro bank to bank, they all do same thing. The beauty of this platform is that you don’t have to carry your debit or credit cards about. The details of your cards are uploaded and stored once on your wallet, and afterwards, it only takes your PIN and CCV numbers to consummate a transaction. This has an edge over s service like QuickTeller, where you need to have all numbers of your card crammed or written down some where to be used in completing each transaction.
This is used to make payments or transfer money from one person to another, or to a business. It may not be entirely run by financial institutions, as there are accredited agents designated to run these services especially for the unbanked communities i.e. those in rural areas with no access to traditional banking halls. The Mobile Money schemes being run in Nigeria now is a mobile payment service.
Having described and defined the two available platforms, the idea is that these services should help us be a step ahead of those that don’t have phones. Here are things that you can do with mobile banking and mobile payment services:
Balance Enquiry: This is probably not entirely of any use to a lot of us since we get transaction alerts via emails and SMSs once there is any transaction on our accounts. Nonetheless, it is one of the features if not the first available on mobile banking.
Airtime Top-up: This is my most used feature on my Mobile Banking apps. You can top up as low as N100 if you so wish. With some banks, you only need a basic internet connection (GPRS) on your phone to be able to use this service. Some banks still use only SMSs and this limits you especially when you have run out of airtime completely. Some have both options though.
Funds Transfer: Another amazing feature. The ability to do transfers via my mobile devices is a joy that I just can’t measure. I can’t remember the last time I paid cash into anyone’s account. I just do transfers either via my mobiles or via internet banking. The stress of jumping bikes (where they are available) to get to the banks, or the trek with my heels, the risk of getting robbed in cases of large sums, and the cost of moving around, are all saved with a few taps on my mobile, a token for a charge and ding dong… business concluded.
Bill Payments: With this option, you can pay your PHCN bills, Postpaid (Airtime), Cable TV Subscriptions, etc.
Shopping: This is the Mobile Money platform; there is an interface here between the Financial Institutions and the Telcos. CBN and NCC are the regulatory bodies. You open a Mobile Money Account with your bank or with one of the accredited Mobile Money Agents and credit your account for a charge or commission. You can make all your payments for your goods via through your phone as long as your account is credited enough to cover that payment.
This is a robust platform, and mostly for bank transactions. Here, you don’t need your bank cards. You are dealing directly with your accounts and viewing your transactions and the details as they are. Some banks have other payment platforms laced in their Internet Banking. GTB for one has American Visa Payment option on theirs. This platform is strictly for banking transactions like, balance enquiry, transfers (NEFT and NIPS), and full blown Statement of Accounts with options on the period you may need to print, etc.
So the deal here is that we all should leverage on these platforms made available to us via our mobile devices, explore them, make the best use of them and probably save ourselves from some embarrassing situations. I shall hope that Mr. Mo is reading. LOL!
Over to you.
Credit: Image Source