SA firm up for mobile innovation award

16 February 2012

South African mobile services company Oltio has been nominated in the “best mobile money innovation” category at the annual GSMA Global Mobile Awards for its payD platform, which turns a user’s mobile phone into a remote point-of-sale device.

Oltio is a joint venture company between pan-African mobile network operator MTN and Standard Bank.

Through the payD platform, launched in August, consumers can purchase products and services online and use their debit cards to pay for the purchase while making use of their mobile phones to enter their PINs.

The technology is also used by Oltio parent company MTN for its Eazi Recharge pre-paid airtime top-up service, which already has over 110 000 users.

“Just being nominated is an honour for us,” Oltio head of new business development Dave Parratt said in a statement this week. “It is recognition that our commitment to innovation and in particular, making e-commerce accessible to more South Africans, is paying off.”

He added that the company believed that payD had the ability to fundamentally change how consumers conduct online transactions, with more than 170 merchants who make use of the platform.

Increasing access to online payments

Standard Bank banking products director Sugendhree Reddy said that while credit cards had become ubiquitous with online purchases, the convenience and safety of online shopping was restricted to higher income customers with access to online payment facilities.

This has left many consumers out of the online transacting and purchasing loop – students, vendors and casual workers, for instance, have the financial means and tools to make online purchases but have been excluded from this fast growing technology as they do not have access to a credit card.

“As a result of the innovative technology offered by payD, more Standard Bank customers across the country are now able to transact online,” said Reddy. “Those with debit cards are now included by making use of payD.

“They are able to transact by simply entering their PIN securely on their handset.”

Intense competition

The GSMA Global Mobile Awards are the most sought after in the global communications industry. More than 170 independent analysts, journalists, academics and subject matter experts throughout the world participated in the judging of the 2012 awards.

According to GSMA chief marketing officer Michael O’Hara, there were a record 600 entries and an exceptionally high-quality field of contenders for this year’s awards, reflecting the intensity of competition and innovation across the mobile ecosystem.

“It is a significant achievement to have made the shortlist, and our warmest congratulations go to all the nominees announced today,” O’Hara said. “We look forward to the unveiling of the winners at the Mobile World Congress next month.”

SAinfo reporter

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