Business opportunities in the Real Time Payment market are fast evolving and
will continue to do so as consumer behaviour matures. Juniper Research has
sized the escalating mobile payments market at US $240-billion this year and
expects it to almost triple in value by 2015.
The Real Time Payment Platform (RTPP) market, especially business models
supporting real time payments, has evolved rapidly and with varying degrees
of consumer adoption; and mobile financial transactions are already proving
to be a fertile ground for operators in emerging and mature markets.
Altech ISIS general manager Anton van Heerden says the speed of adoption is
critical. Once a payment network has achieved critical mass, it will be very
difficult for new entrants to catch up and compete. This can be measured in
terms of the number of active subscribers, revenue-generating transaction
volume or partners in an ecosystem.
In South Africa, the spectrum of adoption stretches across geographies and is
extremely broad due to cultural differences, local regulations and disparity
in the maturity of telecommunications and financial services infrastructure.
Real Time Payments Geographically Diverse
and Offers a Variety of Payment Methods
As a result, organisations that want to adopt a Real Time Payment Platform
need an open and flexible real time payment processing architecture that will
readily support the rollout of new applications and services whenever the
opportunities arise. The Altech ISIS Real Time Payment Platform system needed
to be geographically diverse, whilst offering a variety of payment methods on
a technology agnostic framework in order to future proof it.
Winners in this marketplace will be those who have built a flexible and
agile infrastructure that allows for the profitable delivery of specialised
services, and the ability to easily and cost-efficiently scale as subscriber
bases grow, he explains.
Real Time Payment is a Flexible
The Real Time Payment Platform is at the
core of the transaction processing infrastructure, it enables transaction
management, distributed transaction processing, object replication and
mirroring and data and service high-availability.
He says real time payment applications are
mission critical and require 100 percent uptime. Success means 24/7
availability on a low-cost infrastructure. Real Time Payment Platform
relieves service providers of the technical issues of building and
maintaining the interfaces between the external vendors and their own billing
systems, allowing them to concentrate on their core business.
Real Time Payment Platform is a flexible and agile infrastructure that allows
for the profitable delivery of specialised services and the ability to easily
and cost-efficiently scale as subscriber bases grow. Furthermore, an open and
flexible real time payment processing architecture readily supports the
rollout of new applications and services whenever the opportunities arise.
Real Time Payments Manage Over R3 Billion a
Year in Africa Alone
Van Heerden says collection of subscription
payments can be extended to include non-banking institutions such as retail
outlets and post offices. No resources are required to develop and maintain
these multiple interfaces and a web service interface enables near real time
feedback on the success of any transaction. Furthermore, the Real Time Payment
Platform system itself acts as a service activation gateway, providing a
mediation layer in between provision and the back end systems.
Altech ISIS already has a pre developed Real Time Payment Platform system in
place that is functional throughout Africa and is driving the payments side
of clients businesses. The market in Africa is difficult in terms of
payment collection. Altech ISIS has seen phenomenal growth in alternative
payment channels in the last few years and the amount of money flowing
through this system is expanding exponentially. So much so that our Real Time
Payment Platform system mediates, for one customer alone, over R3 billion a
year in payment transactions throughout Africa, observes van Heerden.
It is crucial for operators to select their enabling technologies carefully.
They must ensure that they have the ability to quickly roll out services
which will prove to be early revenue generators, while maintaining the
flexibility to introduce new products which meet diverse, evolving subscriber
demands, as the Real Time Payment Platform has. Getting this service mix
wrong could be a costly mistake, and could cause an operator to lose
first-mover advantage in the fast-moving market, he concludes.