Mobile payment is an alternative payment method that involes the use of phone to make payment, over cash, credit cards or cheques. There are four main technologies behind this, courtesy of Wikipedia:
- Premium SMS based transactional payments
The consumer sends a payment request via an SMS text message or an USSD to a short code and a premium charge is applied to their phone bill or their online wallet.
- Direct Mobile Billing
The consumer uses the mobile billing option during checkout at an e-commerce site—such as an online gaming site—to make a payment.
- Mobile web payments (WAP)
The consumer uses web pages displayed or additional applications downloaded and installed on the mobile phone to make a payment. It uses WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) as underlying technology and thus inherits all the advantages and disadvantages of WAP.
- Contactless NFC (Near Field Communication)
Near Field Communication (NFC) is used mostly in paying for purchases made in physical stores or transportation services. A consumer using a special mobile phone equipped with a smartcard waves his/her phone near a reader module.
Now, which one is good for Nigeria? The most dominant one in the near future will remain the first two or three. The last one, presently used by Google in its Google Wallet is not ready for Nigeria. The fact is that most of the supermarkets must be ready to adopt it before you can make money out of this.
Though in the West, they want to get the customers to pay as quickly as possible to save costs and reduce queue, Africa has not caught that bug. Yet, it is the NFC that will be the most transformative in the long-run. There are many technologies that NFC powers. In inventory management, apps can integrate it to come up with cheaper alternatives to RFID.