Building strong partnership for robust payment solutions

Freddie Kwame ODURO
  • cellulant creating synergies in the payment ecosystem

How people make payments for goods or services is undergoing a massive transformation. We continue to witness an increasing shift toward more digital solutions, as businesses, their agents and customers continue to hold bigger balances on fintech platforms and payments through digital wallets are rapidly becoming the norm.

By 2025, the number of people using digital wallets is expected to reach 4.4 billion, up from 2.6 billion in 2020. As more funds flow online and people adopt more digital finance apps and services, acceleration in collaboration and creating synergies in payments will be at the centre of this transition. Partnerships make the payments landscape more accessible, vastly increasing the total addressable market.

The advent of the global pandemic continues to drive consumers towards more flexible payment options whereas issuers and merchants similarly work to provide customers with choice, control and simplicity at checkout.

On the back of this, Cellulant – a leading pan-African payments company that provides locally relevant and alternative payment methods for global, regional and local merchants across 35 African countries – is charting new partnerships across the Ghanaian payment ecosystem to extend its unparalleled reach across the country while allowing merchants and consumers to enjoy streamlined digital payments services directly through their bank.

Over US$15billion in gross value payments are already processed by Cellulant, across the shared markets – and this partnership solution the company provides has the scope to expand the numbers significantly.

Cellulant provides a single Application Programming Interface (API) payments platform that enables businesses to collect payments online and offline while allowing anyone to pay from their mobile money wallets, local and international cards or directly from their bank accounts

In Ghana, digital payments have seen tremendous growth in the past couple of years. The Ghanaian mobile money market reached a value of US$ 92 Billion in 2021. Estimates by several analysts suggest that the market could reach US$ 494 Billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 32.5percent from 2022 to 2027.

However, cash remains a dominant preference for payments. One of the contributing factors to the preference for cash over digital payments is the high costs of digital payments that are often passed on to users, and a lack of trust in or familiarity with digital payments.

To combat this, leading financial institutions, that is, banks are aggressively offering FinTech solutions, and most of these banks have partnered with Fintechs like Cellulant to render the service and give their merchants FinTech solutions.

Cellulant has successfully rolled out Tingg, a digital payments platform enabling businesses and their consumers to accept and make payments seamlessly to curb these inefficiencies in digital payments.

This comes after the Central Bank of Ghana issued Cellulant a Payment Services Provider (PSP) License. The PSP License allows Cellulant to aggregate merchant services, process financial services, acquire merchants, deploy POS systems, and aggregate payments for banks, institutions, and the public. The license is a requirement under the Payment Services Act 2019, which mandates that the Bank of Ghana license all Financial Technology or digital payments companies before operating in the country.

Cellulant platform – Tingg – will provide the best customer experience for all retail and institutional clients looking to digitise their payments, collect, and disburse to customers today. The company’s payments platform, Tingg, now available via 120 banks, is a one-stop payment gateway for multinational corporations, mid-caps and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) alike.

The platform enables merchants to receive, view, and reconcile all their payments via a single application programming interface (API), cutting out the need to sign up for multiple payment providers, including mobile money and mobile money operators (MoMo).

This simultaneously streamlines businesses’ administration processes while expanding the range of payment options they can offer to consumers, ensuring maximum choice and flexibility both offline and online.

Integration with PAPSS and E-Cedi

This year, Cellulant is keenly focused on establishing strategic partnerships with banks with other fintech to run targeted payment service solutions for merchants across Africa.

Currently, the company is actively engaging the Ghana Integrated Payment and Settle Systems (GhIPSS), on getting the e-Cedi and other payment solutions unto the Tingg platform. Tingg is equipped with a solution called the in-store solution. This allows merchants to be able to collect from their customers who want to make payments in their outfits.

A very big deal

Wonder why this matters? At last count, Africa had 350 million unbanked adults. Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) data shows that 70percent of the world’s US$1 trillion mobile money market is in Africa. Also, it is estimated that by 2050, a quarter of the humans on the platform will live in Africa. This gives an idea of how large the African financial pie is.

It comes as no surprise that available data suggests Africa’s fintech industry has received the highest percentage of funding over the past year, with about 63percent or US$3 billion of the continent’s total Venture Capital (VC) funding going to fintech companies in 2021. But there are a lot of reasons why fintech is big in Africa.

But more often than not, the fintech industry is seen as disruptive in the traditional banking space.  But industry insiders have discovered that it is not the case, especially in Africa. However, recent developments have shown that is not the case as there is much mutual benefit to be derived from collaborating.

Leveraging Partnerships

The central bank’s national payment systems strategic plan from (2019-2024) sets forth the policy direction and guidelines that promote an enabling environment to develop the Ghanaian payment and financial systems. Amid this policy direction, partnerships will make the payments landscape more accessible, vastly increasing the total addressable market.

This enhances Cellulant’s position in the country as it positions to further leverage on partnerships to extend better opportunities to Ghanaians through innovation that promotes financial inclusion within the payment ecosystem. For instance, Cellulant partnered Africa’s global bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc to extend payment services for merchants and consumers across 19 key African countries in which UBA operates. These countries include Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, the Republic of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Senegal.

The company has also partnered NALAwith the aims to facilitate seamless cross-border payments and significantly reduce the cost of sending money from the UK and the US into Africa. This comes at a time when remittances make up huge chunk of external resources for Sub-Subsaharan Africa.

Besides Official Direct Assistance (ODA), remittances make up the second-largest source of external resources for Sub-Subsaharan Africa. In 2019, approximately US$48 billion was remitted in Africa, with Nigeria receiving roughly 50percent of this amount, followed by Ghana and Kenya.

Despite a decline in remittance inflows in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, countries such as Kenya and Ghana experienced an increase in cross-border payments. Remittance inflows into Sub-Saharan picked up again and grew roughly by 6percent in 2021. However, transaction fees absorb a large percentage of the billions sent to Africa every year. The cost of sending money into Africa is the highest across all regions.

Cellulant’s single API payments platform, Tingg, enables global, regional and local businesses to collect payments online and offline while allowing anyone to pay from their mobile money, local and international cards or directly from their bank. The platform powers payments for 220 million consumers on a single inclusive network, allowing interoperability across Africa.

Freddie is the  Head of Business Development for Cellulant Ghana

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