My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Why WeChat ewallet in South Africa as ScotiaBank Jamaica and Digicel going Cashless

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Why WeChat ewallet in South Africa as ScotiaBank Jamaica and Digicel going Cashless

“Like a physical wallet, you can securely store your bank cards and make instant cash payments within WeChat with the new feature. With WeChat Wallet, users can electronically send cash to friends and family, just like handing cash to a friend to get you lunch or pay for coffee or a drink at the bar.”

Tencent in a release for their new eWallet for their mobile app WeChat

Jamaican who travel to South Africa regularly, you might not need to travel with your credit card anymore, just your smartphone!

WeChat, a popular Mobile Social Network provider owned by Chinese Internet giant Tencent, now has a mobile wallet or eWallet that's accessible within the popular Smartphone app as reported in the article “WeChat launches its peer-to-peer mobile wallet in South Africa, no bank account required”, published November 25th 2015 by Michael De Waal-montgomery, Venturebeat.

The WeChat Mobile ewallet does the following transactions:

1.      ATM withdrawals
2.      Merchant purchases
3.      Remittance

South Africa is one of those countries that Apple Pay is yet to conquer, despite making in-roads into most English-speaking countries including the UK and now Australia as noted in my blog article entitled “Apple Pay wins over Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland – England is now Apple Pay Country as Apple Pay set to conquer Australia”.

Apple Pay is in Australia's hard-to-access Banks in November 2015, with only American Express supporting their mobile wallet platform as noted in the article “Apple Pay arrives in Australia for Amex cardholders”, published November 19, 2015 by Lance Whitney, CNET News.

Apple Pay is also in Canada with plans to conquer China by February 2016 as reported in the article “Apple Pay reportedly to launch in China by February”, published 24 November 2015 by Steven Musil, CNET News

However, they seemed to have ignored South Africa, despite the Rainbow nation being quite close by. So how does WeChat Mobile ewallet work that takes it so special?

Tencent’s WeChat ewallet – Why South Africa is going Cashless

Mobile e-wallets isn't something new in south Africa, with QR code based startups like SnapScan and FlickPay already dominating the market as noted in the article “Cape Town goes cashless as mobile payment apps take off”, published 5 December 2014 By Tom Jackson, BBC News.

Apple Pay will have a difficult time come into South Africa, as their platform requires the use of Apple iPhones and a dedicated POS (Point of Sale) terminal, whereas mobile payment options like SnapScan and FlickPay only need the app installed and QR Codes, which are basically square shaped barcodes.

Like SnapScan and FlickPay, the WeChat mobile ewallet uses your camera to scan the QR code, a service that complements their Mobile Social Network. Once you’ve signed up, registered and connected your credit card to your app on your smartphone, you can do transactions with merchants that have a QR code, no POS terminal required.

Setting up the service is also blessedly simple:

1.      Log into WeChat
2.      Tap Me,
3.      Tap Wallet
4.      Follow the step-by-step instructions

The App does the transaction in the cloud, updating the accounts of the persons involved in the transaction to reflect that the transaction has taken place.

The person paying confirms the payment via their fingerprint or by entering a PIN number, receiving a notification and an email with copy of the transaction receipt from the merchant to print at the recipient’s leisure. The merchant then receives a confirmation that the payment was made via notification on their app or an email with a copy of the transaction.

This is the highly competitive market that WeChat's ewallet is being launched. It's only available to South Africans who are 16 or older with a valid ID number toting iOS or Android phones. WeChat also released a series of Videos to explain how the service works.

To differentiate themselves, they’re offering to store up to three Credit Cards in their service, to quote the press release from Tencent: “Information of up to three chip and PIN debit or credit cards, which are verified by Visa and MasterCard security systems, can be saved in the WeChat Wallet. Cards can also be used to Cash In and increase your wallet’s cash balance, pay for services on WeChat such as airtime, electricity, food or pay SnapScan merchants.”

You can also use a Debit Cards and purchasing mobile airtime might be the most popular use for the app along with your local newspaper as noted in the article “WeChat launches wallet in South Africa”, published 25 NOV 2015, Mobile World Live

Expect WeChat to start being use to purchase food and pay the bills as well. Best of all, most of these services do not require a bank account; you can collect your money at a local remittance office or even the ATM, no bank account needed!

Jamaica Mobile Money Revolution – Supreme Venture, ScotiaBank and Digicel partnership possible

In a way, this a lot like CONEC mobile in Jamaica, which has Paymaster as their Third-party Bill Payment Processor as noted in my blog article entitled “JCUES now CONEC Mobile Wallet - Why CONEC Mobile Wallet still inconvenient despite Paymaster and Remittances in the JCCUL-Mozido Jamaica mix”.

However, CONEC Mobile cannot do merchant transactions or ATM withdrawals and is restricted to local and international remittance services as well as buying mobile credit. So Jamaica has some ways to go to even catch up with South Africa!

Jamaica is on the cusp of a Mobile Money revolution, with Supreme Ventures IFLEX Betting platform enabling them to provide ticket purchase and prize collection capability via their Supreme Ventures app as reported in my blog article entitled “Supreme Ventures Limited IFLEX Betting Platform Upgrade - How Mobile Gambling via Smartphone is finally coming to Jamaica”.

Scotiabank is already preparing to do mobile money transactions, possibly in partnership with Digicel by enabling cross-bank transactions as noted in my blog article entitled “Why ScotiaBank is introducing Cross-Banking Transfers – Supreme Ventures Mobile Money on the horizon”.

So will Jamaica go cashless by 2016 with the help of Digicel, ScotiaBank and Supreme Ventures? 2016, the New Year of the Monkey, is only six (6) weeks away!

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