While most of the world was cheering for the new smart watch that Apple presented on their press conference in Cupertino on September 9, I mainly took note of the new mobile payment solution called ApplePay combining NFC with the users’ existing payment cards. NFC (Near Field Communication) has been around for a while, but as we know, Apple has proven its ability to change the way we interact with technology – and perhaps this will be the break-through in NFC payment which many have hoped for. The feature speeds up the payment process by allowing a touch-and-go procedure instead of having to swipe-and-PIN or chip-and-PIN. This makes the transaction faster and is a clear advantage for the customer and the retailer.
But the real reason ApplePay excites me is that it fits so well with Bancore’s goal to financially empower the global user, since it will drive mobile payment adoption and thereby a need for everybody to hold a payment card. Although Apple products are very pricey for many low-income people, we already today see more than 30% of new Bancore users signing up for our Prepaid Virtual MasterCard in part to get access to an iTunes or Google account, and with the ApplePay launch Bancore can only see this growing.
Growing share of smart phones in emerging markets
Furthermore, mobile phone ownership in emerging markets is skyrocketing with the ownership of feature phones outnumbering smart phones so far, but not for long. Low priced smart phones are growing in numbers and I expect that sales will be pushed even harder now by especially Google & Microsoft, obviously having to increase their focus on ApplePay alternatives.
For me, a launch by a market making company such as Apple in the payment area will not only increase market focus but also customer attention and thereby customer signups for any service that will empower and enable any user to participate in the global financial highway. In a way, this could lead to driving the market for global financial inclusion, by changing the market focus towards a mobile payment solution like Bancore’s – without it being Apple´s initial intention. This is especially relevant for the emerging markets – where a large part of the population has limited access to bank-like services.
I predict that consumer demand for payment cards in emerging markets will soar as payment enabled devices and the services they can access become more widespread the next 2-3 years. Interestingly, this was not necessarily the intention but eventually became the outcome. While it will indirectly be driven by technology introductions by companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft, as well as companies like Bancore, all of the unbanked people in the world will benefit. Eventually they will be driving the usage, simply because they skip the traditional steps in banking evolution.
Apple® introduced ApplePay® this week making retail and online transactions faster and easier for any Apple iPhone 6 owner who has a payment card. However when combined with a Bancore Virtual Payment Card from VISA® or MasterCard® any iPhone 6 owner can activate their ApplePay account. All it takes is a visit at www.bancore.com and 30 seconds later you have a MasterCard/Visa Card® ready to use.
Bancore offers a safe and innovative bank like experience, enabling any consumer to participate in the global economy, through fair and transparent cashless transactions. Bancore works with leading global financial partners to deliver its services, from headquarters in London and key operations in Denmark, Nigeria, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Caribbean and Ukraine. To find out more, please visit our new corporate website www.bancore.com.