Mobile payments specialist Bango has partnered with software developer MMIT to release M-Iflọ, a safe payment solution that enables online transactions for digital content.
M-Iflọ navigates the complex mobile payment environment in Sub-Saharan Africa and is tailored to the needs of the industry leaders in mobile content.
M-Iflọ is a payment verification portal that acts as a safe entry point for mobile content providers to reach the African market. M-Iflọ allows consumers with a mobile wallet account in Africa to pick their wallet provider as a payment option at the checkout page of a content site. The wallet holder enters their mobile wallet number for account verification and obtains the content.
The solution is designed to fit the cash-exchange culture of Africa and offer reassurance to app stores and digital merchants, giving millions of Africans the ability to make mobile payments for apps, games and other smartphone content.
Africa’s growing population of smartphone users are young, tech savvy and early adopters by instinct. But when it comes to payment for mobile apps and content, African consumers are shut out, excluded from mobile commerce because merchants are fearful of the risks of doing business in Africa. M-Iflọ addresses those concerns and will unlock a world of mobile payments in Africa.
Mobile billing has been held back across much of Africa, limited by a range of technological and political risk factors. Political instability in a number of Sub-Saharan countries has resulted in unclear regulatory environments and a lack of proper infrastructure to support stable carrier-grade billing systems. Settlement and collection of funds is complex, with rapidly fluctuating exchange rates, varying taxes, and transfer fees.
Further, As Jide Akindele, CEO of MMIT commented “unfortunately corruption remains a substantial risk within the mobile money industry in Sub-Saharan Africa. This has resulted in reluctance from the world’s app stores and mobile brands to engage the African market.”
M-Iflọ acts as an intermediary between mobile merchants and mobile wallet providers. In near real-time, the tool queries the accounts of mobile wallet subscribers to determine if the subscriber has enough value in their wallet account to facilitate a purchase. The solution also enables those without a mobile wallet to buy content on major app stores, using a top up card that can be bought in retail outlets, with codes to use at the checkout page of an app store or other merchant site.
The solution minimizes risk and allows merchants to be paid up front, neatly sidestepping the complexity of doing business in Africa. The result is that app stores and other merchants no longer need to fear that payment will be held up in another country based on bureaucracy, fraud or changes in regulation. Meanwhile African consumers can look forward to full participation in the mobile commerce explosion.
Beginning in key Sub-Saharan markets, M-Iflọ will initially be available in Kenya and Nigeria, quickly followed by Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia.
M-Iflọ is already integrated with some of the major mobile wallet providers in Africa, including Mobipay in Kenya, Stanbic IBTC Mobile Money in Nigeria and further announcements are imminent.
Bango CEO Ray Anderson said: “There’s a smartphone boom in Africa and a frustrated demand for digital content. App stores and other merchants have been waiting for the reassurance of M-Iflọ, which limits the risk of doing business in Africa, and has been designed to suit the ‘cash up front’ instincts of the African market.”
Jide Akindele, CEO of MMIT “Merchants in the western market are yearning for a suitable payment process platform that minimizes their risk in the African market. We believe that our M-Iflọ platform gives our clients that capability to do so. We look forward to opening up access to content store owners that are looking at the African market via Bango and MMIT’s Mobile money payment processing platform.”
The service’s name is derived from ‘Iflọ’, a Yoruba word for content or information. Yoruba is the language of the largest ethnic group in Nigeria and the most commonly spoken language after English.