E-commerce firm signs deal with mobile operators to ease payments

The 3G Direct Pay Ltd, an e-commerce firm, has entered into a deal with Safaricom and Airtel for real-time update of transactions made through money transfer services, M-Pesa and Airtel Money.

The firm’s managing director, Eran Feinstein, said the model enabled by cloud computing would allow the firm access to the databases of the two telcos, confirming transactions instantly.

At the moment, a customer who pays any bill via any of mobile money services providers has to wait for hours or even days before the payment is confirmed.

“Very soon, we expect to connect directly with databases of yu Cash and Orange Money in order to expand online and mobile payment services in the East African market where clients are more dispersed than ever,” Mr Feinstein said.

The 3G Direct Payment Ltd already controls 90 per cent of East Africa’s online payment – mostly in the travel industry where it is connected to more than 250 hotels, airlines and tour companies in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia.

It has been providing online payment services via VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, and PayPal with the company’s executives saying the region has low incidents of fraud of only 0.05 per cent compared to 2.5 per cent global average.

The firm’s move to enter into deals with telecoms operators targets the growing mobile money transfer market, seen as the new growth area in its mission to tighten its grip on region’s online shopping and payment segment.

In Kenya, billions of shillings are exchanged annually by more than seven million users of mobile money transfer services.

The payment model uses an online invoicing system and allows for payment of any product or service provided by a merchant to their client.

“We feel both the merchants and the consumers are ready and eager to adopt these online and mobile payment services as Internet access grows,” he said.

Mr Feinstein said the new model has an inbuilt fraud prevention module that scans each transaction and receives real-time internal fraud ‘score’ based on dozens of different parameters such as card, customer, IP blacklist.