More and More Financial Institutions in West Africa seem to be encouraging customers to make more payments via electronic cards.
Why? Because it seems wherever I turn, there are numerous promotions and giveaways for using your electronic cards and the new card products churned out …
And the failed Ghana e-zwich card service launched by Bank of Ghana
The launching of different types of card based products
The Cashless Lagos Pilot program by the Central Bank of Nigeria
Even though there is an uplift of card carrying customers , I have not seen a commensurate uplift in retailers accepting payments via cards.
So there are more customers with electronic cards but with very little retail spaces they can use these cards to make payments.
Some of the Reasons
1. The Card Machines are expensive to procure
2. Connection problems with the card machines
[light bulb moment]
We could provide these retailers with cheaper card machines using everyday technology products e.g your mobile phone
There are quite a number of these services available
Square : The payment device is free – the square device plugs into a mobile phone’s audio jack of an iPhone, iPad or android phone and it is ready to accept credit card payments. Created by Jack Dorsey (Twitter Co-Founder) and Jim McKelvey
Coin: Coin’s circular device connects to a phone’s audio jack via a cable instead of mounting directly onto the device.
OR: Flint, which relies on the phone’s camera and its software to process transactions. The service works by holding a credit card or debit card in front of the phone’s camera until its numbers are aligned with Flint’s scanning field
Errr.. the other problem is none of these services work in the African region.
So I am proposing a similar simple jack product for the region, but which works with both the internet and directly via mobile service provider (to try and minimize connection problems)
Who is up for that Challenge? Maybe at the Next Start-up weekend ? Next Maker Faire ?