Integrating new payment solutions in Kenya


Tracom Services Limited is a limited liability company with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Tracom has other offices in Africa, delivering secure payment solutions in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Zambia, South Sudan and Sudan. Tracom works with first-class international partners to ensure its stays ahead of the technology curve and deliver solutions using innovative technologies.

With the aim of being Africa’s leading payment solution provider, simplifying and securing financial transactions, Tracom builds long-standing business relationships in order to maintain its reputation as being the most trustworthy and dependable payment solution company available. Tracom is constantly looking for new ideas, technologies and ways to conduct business and keep the company on the cutting edge and a step ahead of its competition.

Through its dedicated project management team, Tracom works to understand customer requirements and convert them into the best solution, cost-effectively. Solutions developed by Tracom include: alternative banking channels; E-wallets and mobile money; bespoke banking automations; bank switching software: universal card and transaction processing; automated mass payment solutions and other payment solutions.

The payment industry

Now is a great time to be talking about payment solutions, especially as great strides have been made in the field of financial inclusion. Financial inclusion is an integral part of Tracom’s service provision. Kenya is a leader in this space and has been able to achieve financial inclusion on the back of mobile money and agency banking. The two channels rely critically on digital technologies and an underlying communications infrastructure. Kenya’s success in financial inclusion has led to an increased focus on enhancing the range of financial services available electronically to the client. Both the Kenyan government and financial players are focusing on converting most of the financial interactions from high touch (physical money) to high tech (electronic money).

The government has rolled out regulations intended to increase the traceability of financial transactions. This includes support for Huduma services – a flagship government initiative aimed at significantly improving Kenya’s public services. Many Huduma services are powered by electronic payment systems, which includes implementing electronic payment modes for the transport industry and ensuring cashless payments at a county level. This has led to a new focus on cards and payments. The financial industry in Kenya is increasing its investment in new technologies to achieve these objectives. It is also diversifying and expanding its reach across the payments landscape. Other such initiatives in the African region have confirmed this to be a regional trend, and 2018 is set to be pivotal year as the east African economy moves towards a cashless society. These developments are taking place against a backdrop where confidence in physical cash is being undermined by a real or perceived increase in security issues. Cash’s unpopularity is not limited to risk – it also outstrips all other payment methods when it comes to accounting inaccuracies.

The customer is keen on four critical items: convenience, security, availability, and trust. As credit and debit cards have become an established part of the payment landscape, they fulfil part of this criteria. However, pressure from mobile payments and digital trends are forcing a review of the card strategy. Customer expectation is constantly changing and becoming more demanding – they are becoming increasingly difficult to excite. Therefore financial services players are redesigning new and innovative strategies around existing payments platforms, including a migration towards prepaid cards, contactless technologies and mobility.

Security and trust remain critical aspects that need to be tracked to ensure the continued success of financial inclusion and deepening initiatives. Any fraud committed in existing platforms, such as recently announced by the central bank and other players such as Safaricom, could cause serious erosion of trust. The movement to EMV –Europay, Mastercard and Visa – has reduced part of the risks associated with the card industry. However, chip and pin has lacked efficiency when used in the high volume low value transactions in areas such as transport and government collections. This is calling for a balance to be struck between ease of use and security. International data breaches involving more than 100 million cards at big retailers such as Target and Home Depot have grabbed the local headlines. Tracom is critically focused on continued innovation to ensure increased convenience and efficiency without compromising on security.

Also important is the unification of different payment channels to ensure a consistent user experience regardless of the technology they are interacting with. The ability to migrate transactions across various channels remains a core concern in any designs Tracom develops.

On the horizon, Tracom is looking towards engaging payment-solution providers, such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal and upcoming Facebook platforms. Other initiatives worth consideration include bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

Further information
www.tracom.co.ke

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