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Online payment gains prominence

SCI & TECH
By | March 1st 2010

By Fredrick Obura

Local businesses will now be able to complete payment transactions for goods and services bought right on their websites without seeking offshore assistance.

This follows an increase in the number of online payment platforms emerging in the local market.

The recent innovations include Jambopay, ipay, PesaPal, iveri and mobikash, solutions that would allow merchants to sell and receive payments of goods and services in real time.

Speaking during the Comesa banking conference last week, Philip Nyamweya, Intrepid Data Systems consultant, said the new solutions are likely to boost e-commerce in the country.

He noted airlines, tour and travel companies, hotels, and utility service providers would be the biggest beneficiaries due to the new platform.

"The bottleneck that surrounded Internet transactions are to be addressed by homegrown solutions, the government should now move fast and enact laws that safeguard online payments," he said.

Previously, online payment through systems paypal was re-routed to other countries for settlement. This increased the cost of doing business.

"We are likely to see many organisations embracing e-commerce. It is efficient, fast and beats geographical limitations," said Agosta Liko PesaPal founder.

The Iveri and Jambopay technologies will for instance facilitate online card payments for both small and large-scale businesses.

"The solutions are aimed at offering a cost-effective payment service for retailers to accept visa card payments," said Iveri payment technology regional manager Jones Kyuli.

Kyuli said the evolution provides business organisations with benefits of on the ground support services and a cost-effective solution to accept payments through Visa debit and credit cards.

The ipay payment solution, alternative Internet-based cash settlement platform allows the integration of both the M-pesa and Zap platforms into a merchant’s website.

Through this mode of payment, traders can sell their merchandise online day and night and get remittances in real time," says Nyamweya.

Although not officially launched, Mobikash allows one to access multiple accounts with different banks through a single gateway.

"Through Mobikash technology, one can also pay bills, purchase goods and do basic account enquiries over many different networks," says Manyara Kageenu of Mobikash.

With the cable providing increased broadband and greater online access at a reduced cost, it is predicted that marketing and e-commerce will grow dramatically.

On the demand side, consumer preferences for flexible travel and leisure services provide a strong impetus for e-tourism in Kenya.

The use of technology to the travel and tourism industries allows players to offer new and flexible services at competitive prices.

"As a player in the tourism and hotel industry, technology has given us the flexibility to react to market demands and to provide a combination of new services and to cut costs and improve efficiency.

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