Mobile Money Systems Part 1Article 2 in a 10 part series on Mobile Money and Related Issues.Author: Mike Makwanihttp://biznessinventor.blogspot.comElectronic Payment SystemsA few points are in order before we embark on our journey to the center of the earth.One , first mover advantage is unduly overrated and NOT for nothing, it does be storeon the mover depending on the industry and the service offering at hand sometremendous power unless you squander it with always referring to your completion inall your public utterances .Case in point, Celtel in Kenya wasted its first mover advantage to Safaricom byconstantly carrying out adverts with overt and covert reference to the competition,basically sharing their marketing budget with Safaricom and in the process creating apowerful sublime message in favor of their competitor.Lesson, black out your competition completely, don’t ever mention or acknowledgethem in your customer communications or presence.Two, it is a believe among many professionals, that the spectacular success of SafaricomMpesa is due to an alignment of the sun, moon and the stars, that is the right fertilecircumstances.True chance and luck play a role in any enterprise undertaken by man, but just to apoint. For Mpesa, the alignment was a hungry market (with needs and pains) meetingexcellence in strategy formulation, alignment and execution:Lesson, Observe (look and see), Orient (think), Decide, Act (do), then check, align, andreload the OODA loop again and again, and during this if the sun, the moon and thestars smile on you and grant you their 2 cents worth so be it..Now, back to the business at hand, understanding electronic transactions landscape sothat we may observe and decipher how we can get in and or create our own offering(remember what a brilliant tool the businessmen of old created, money as a book entry).Payment TransactionsNow a cash transaction looks as follows:Cash moves from the buyer’s account to the merchant’s account via face to faceexchanges:
1. The buyer withdraws a certain amount of money from his account. 2. He transfers the cash to the seller. 3. The seller deposits the cash into his account.In the non-cash transaction: 1. The buyer will transfer the payment information to the merchant. 2. Adjusting the appropriate accounts of the seller and buyer (via check or credit card) (If the merchant uses different bank from the buyer, a payment clearing service between the 2 banks will be necessary in order to adjust appropriate accounts in different bank Diagram 2 below). Diagram 1: A simplified Model of a TransactionWith the development of the Internet, it provides the buyer and merchant the ability todo the online transaction instead of the above non-cash transaction process. In this typeof system (electronic check, online credit card), the sensitive information is transferredonline along with the orders through the internet.In addition, because the transaction is done online, the probability of using differentbanks (or banks located in different countries) between the merchant and buyer is high.Therefore, the payment clearing services is added in order to adjust appropriatemerchant and buyer bank’s accounts
Diagram 2: A Notational Funds Transfer SystemWhen we come to the e-commerce transaction, the lack of face to face interaction makessome problems about the security of the sensitive information and identity.As a result, we need an intermediary party (PayPal, Google checkout) to provide thesecurity, identification as well as payment support.In this process, the buyer don’t need to transfer his sensitive information to themerchant but to the intermediary and the intermediary will confirm theidentification of the buyer to the merchant (Noted that the transaction between theintermediary and the banks can be performed in another type of electronic payment orconventional process).
Diagram 3: Non-sensitive Transfer systemThere are many different researches about the types of electronic payment systems, anddifferent people use different criteria to categorize these systems.Classification of Payment SystemsIn a basic classification of e-payment systems, two criteria’s are used to categorize theelectronic payment systems: 1 Pre-paid, Pay-now or Pay-later, and 2 Online or Offline Transactions.If we use the first one, we get following systems: a) Pre-paid: customer pays before the transaction (e.g. she buys electronic tokens, tickets, coins, and uses them to pay for her transactions).
b) Pay-now: the customer’s account is checked and debited at the same time when the transaction takes place (example: internet banking). c) Pay-later (credit-based): customer pays after the transaction (example: credit card).Based on the second classification method we get the following: a) On-line: a third party (the bank) is involved in the transaction (e.g., it checks solvency of the user, double spending of a coin, etcetera ) in real-time, b) Off-line: the bank (or financial organization) is not involved in real-time in the transactions.Now for our purpose as business inventors we need slightly more information on what isreally happening than the above two classification schools can give us.Hence we shall use a criterion based on the form of money presentation and based onthis the payment systems can be divided into 2 groups: 1. Electronic Cash Systems. 2. Credit-Debit Card systems.Electronic Cash SystemsThe Electronic Cash System is based on the ideal of conventional cash, such that whenparties want to pay for something, they exchange electronic tokens (intelligent money)that represent value, just as banknotes (semi-illiterate money) determine the normalvalue of conventional money.In this system, in order to have the electronic cash (or tokens) to pay the merchant, acustomer will request the bank (or the intermediary) who has the ability to createtokens. Of course, the customer needs to pay the bank (or the intermediary) theequivalent value comparable to the tokens needed.
Diagram 4: An Electronic Cash SystemAnd slowly the players are starting to get visible, but let us go on, and by the way thisarticle is long, it cannot be short!So the customer will send these tokens (electronic money) to the merchant to pay forher goods or services. The merchant, in turn, can store these tokens and use them forlater payment or send (redeem) at his bank to adjust his bank account.A deeper distinction amongst electronic cash systems is between those that use smartcards for the storage of tokens (Chipper, etc) and those where tokens reside only onuser’s accounts and computer networks (Mpesa, etc).Systems that used smart cards (Chipper, Chipknip, etc) store the tokens on the card.When buyer wants to buy some things, she needs first to charge (deposit) the e-moneyto her card (through some machines). Then, the token (e-money) on the card is reducedwhen the buyer uses it to pay for something.In systems that use tokens residing on computer networks, (say Mpesa) tokens travel ina computer environment, and can be transfer between customers or comeback to theserver. At all times the token(s) reside in a computer system. (Remember the moneyas a book entry bit, the tokens and their movements are electronic entries).Credit-Debit SystemsThe credit-debit system was developed based on the ideal of credit cards and bankaccounts. When a buyer wants to buy some things, she doesn’t need to exchange anykind of money or the tokens to the merchant but the information about the payment.
Money is represented by records in bank accounts, and this information iselectronically transferred between parties over computer networks.Business inventors do you see it? Tokens, Records, all book entries, databases.Diagram 5: Credit-Debit SystemIn this type of systems, buyer and seller can’t have anonymity (which they can getfrom some token based systems) with the payment service provider because theiraccount is maintain by the payment service provider and the payment service providerwill record all the transactions in order to adjust its customer’s accountThese, credit-debit systems are sometimes called account based systems, because of thefact that they were implemented first, when accounts were accounts and not a databaseentry.A deeper distinction amongst account-based systems is between credit and debit cardssystem, the specialized systems and the generic systems.Credit and Debit CardsAt present the credit and debit cards systems are widely used for electronic payment.With debit approach, the buyer needs to have a positive balance on the account beforeshe pays for some things and money is subtracted from her account after the payment(iDeal, Visa Debit card, etc).With credit approach, charges are posted against the buyer’s account and billed to thebuyer later (Visa Credit card, Master card, etc).
Specialized Systems and Generic systemsGeneric Systems (PayPal, NetBill) use simple account-based model for servinginternet paymentSpecialized Payment Systems are systems used for some specific purposes, such as:buying music online, advertising, etcetera.There are still 2 additional criteria we need to take into account for the electronicpayment systems.These are micro payment and mobile payment. A micro payment system is a system which is designed for transacting small amount of money (<2 Dollar). Different researches show that there is a market for this kind of system. In addition, the other above types of electronic payments (Credit card, PayPal, etc) can also be used for micro payment. The same thing happens for mobile payment. That means any and all of the above mentioned types of electronic payments can be adapted and will be adapted to some form of mobile payment (such as PayPal mobile). Besides that, many mobile now have access to the internet like any computer. Hence we can use the mobile to access any of the above payment system without changing the technology.Therefore mobile and micro-payment we shall take as a given, for per the definition ofmoney, divisibility and portability are a given, and as such included in the followingdiagram (Diagram 6 Below).So our classification of electronic payment systems looks as follows:
Diagram 6: Classification of Electronic Payment SystemsThose of you who can see Mpesa above please email me or drop a comment of itsname out of the five above (1-Chipknip, 2-CAFÉ, 3-Ideal Visa Master Card, 4- PayPal, or5-Content Based EPS).That is how rigorous the Observe (look and see) of the OODA loop is supposed to be.After this we are ready to identify the players in an electronic payment system: i. Buyer ii. Issuer iii. Intermediary (or the system itself, such as: PayPal, credit card company, Chipknip company) iv. Merchant v. Acquirer vi. Network provider (internet or mobile networkWith the identity of those 6 players, let us end part 1 of this article there.Please fellow business inventor, this is only a classification, one that we have identifiedand made and historical based at that, it does not mean one player cannot play 3 ormore roles.
In the next article we shall demolish our historical based classification (diagram 6) andfuse it up and then look at the whys and how’s of playing in this exiting money gamekeeping in mind our 6 players.Thank YouLet the mix and gathering begin.Copy With Pride: Unleash the Next Mpesa Part 1.