By Mohammed Waseem
Electronic bill payment is being introduced in all parts of the world with the advancement of technology and with the introduction of innovative ways to make payments. We have some exceptional technologies that we learnt from African countries; M-Pesa, for example, the mobile wallet system which was introduced first in Kenya and later introduced in many other countries under different brand names.
M-Pesa users can pay bills from their mobile wallets at any time in all countries where M-Pesa is operational, which are predominantly in Africa. It is a very easy and convenient way to pay bills; a user can pay right from his/her mobile phone. All one has to do is register for M-Pesa, select ‘Pay Bill’ from the M-Pesa menu, enter the biller account number and the customer number, enter M-Pesa PIN and confirm the details.
Apart from M-Pesa, Africa has other bill pay options such as bill payments through Africa Financial Center (AFC). Through them, users can pay various bills such as utilities, education, mortgages, etc. They accept payments online.
Similarly, there are local bill pay options in various countries, such as South African Post Office Bill Pay, EasyPay in South Africa and other African countries, Airtel Money in many countries and so on. A company called Paymenex offers bill presentment and payment solutions in many countries around the world, which also include countries of Africa.
Many mobile wallets have integrated bill payment into their services, including those offered by Celpay in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania, MTN Mobile in Rwanda and elsewhere, and M-Sentle in Uganda.
African population generally prefer the pay-as-you-go model instead of the subscription model, which resulted in low adoption rates for many online and mobile bill pay services. There are efforts from a few companies and it is hoped that the adoption rate will increase gradually, if not rapidly.