Android POS to increase Diversity of Fintech Solutions

    The introduction of an Android POS by Eft Corp (at the Zimswitch Payments Conference) is refreshingly welcome. It is particularly important in the sense that it opens up the common POS setup to a multiplicity of functions previously unavailable by simply opening up the front-end development on the same infrastructural arrangement for Banks, Merchants, and Fintech Solution Providers. Android is a leading Operating System that comes with the advantage of literally thousands of secure Business applications already available for downloading or adaptation.

    This is a rare opportunity provided by technology for

    • Banks to expand in their product range from their already established POS-Merchant network.
    • Fintechs who have been clamoring for interoperability to penetrate the space with innovative ideas.
    • DFS providers to outlay products and services previously limited by legacy POS.

    Traditionally POS applications needed specialists to come up with a limited array of options such as the Purchase of goods, Balance Inquiry, Withdrawal and so forth. With the Android POS, developers are free to come up with numerous use cases such as POS Lending that we talked about recently. It is now possible to provide better customer experience and loyalty-based products by the use of in-house developed or free / paid downloaded Android applications that utilize proximity technologies such as NFC, QR codes, Bluetooth and so forth. With the numerous options also comes the advantage of data collection from the various transaction facets which brings about a wealth of Data usable in Big Data matrices. Imagine for example a POS terminal reminding a customer to purchase candles, an assumption leaned from previous buying patterns. The opportunities are limitless as the Android POS has the ability to harness as many applications as are available on the smartphone.

    One of the biggest hurdles for Payments Fintechs in Zimbabwe is to try and find a way into the existing Payments Ecosystem for their products and services. This is usually through the provision of an API from an established Institution such as a Bank, Mobile money Operators, and other Financial Institutions. The greatest challenge is that the same company that is supposed to provide enabling infrastructure is also in itself a provider of services consumed on the same infrastructure and as such a competitor. Simply put, the argument from established FIs and Gateway providers is why they should enable a competitor to use their platform.

    Would be Fintechs are subjected to a rigorous process of “checks and tests” that they cannot afford in terms of financial and human capital. The end is many ideas dying a natural death, only to be resurrected as a “new” concept by the next Bank or FI some eons later. It is true that no one Institution should have the monopoly of ideas and ultimately decide which ones see the light of day. The Android POS is positioned to give Fintechs the wildcard needed to penetrate the traditional bureaucracy by decentralizing the creation of POS functions and use cases. In fact, Eft Corp has gone a step further to offer a sandbox arrangement for developers to be able to test out their applications in a safe and controlled simulation of the real ecosystem, emulating the most secure standards.

    Adoption of Android POS is not going to be an overnight process as there is still some juice to squeeze out of the current Ingenicos. The new Android POS would probably come in to complete the current lot with select strategic locations likely to get replacements. One can expect Banks like Steward bank, the usual pioneer to already be testing some new product to be released shortly.