Mobile has made inroads into almost every aspect of our lives mainly due to penetration and the intimacy of the mobile phone. ABI Research predicts that by 2019 46% of cash registers will be Mobile point-of-sale devices.
These are either plugging a card reader into a smartphone/tablet, mobile money via USSD or NFC cards that are read by mobile phones. This will make a very good case for small to mid sized merchants who would benefit from the low entry barriers. Ability to process payments away from traditional checkout queues is one of the reasons retailers are looking at mobile point-of-sale.
In some markets it will face stiff competition from the standard cash registers like for large with the risk of cannibalization of traditional Pos. They can co-exist though.
In Kenya, one of the most developed mobile payments market, Mobile Pos are coexisting quite well between cash payments in some set-ups, and cash registers. We have case studies like Kopokopo and Lipa na Mpesa which are mobile tills, Beba Card and Gigwapi card which are NFC driven payment platforms.
We also have government policy which will eliminate cash payments for public transport making the case for mobile payments even stronger. Lipa Na Mpesa for example, a service introduced a few months ago sees Safaricom with 122,000 Lipa na Mpesa Merchants, both large and small. KopoKopo, also in the market for some time has 10,000 merchants.
Mobile money as a service is quite well developed with one of the players having 17 million active subscribers but mobile pos are just starting up in Kenya. Bob Collymore, Safaricom CEO estimates this number to be at 2% of total payment transactions, adding that there is quite a huge playing ground for competitors.
We are going to see new players in the Kenya scene with Mobile Value Added Networks getting established in the market and specifically targeting money transfer and mobile payments.