New entrant to drive e-commerce
By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
iWallet, a new online payment service has been launched by Dream Oval Ltd in partnership with Airtel Money.
The service will enable users to make and receive payments for products and services online. iWallet will also allow local merchants to expand across the internet and make their products available for sale to customers across the country.
The CEO of Dream Oval, Derrydean Dadzie, said that with the coming of high speed and reliable internet, Ghana was poised to move towards an e-commerce-driven future.
He said Ghana needed a payment system that would complement the lifestyle of the working class in the country.
The product he said, sought to organise the points of sale and converge cash channels to make buying and selling easy.
“With iWallet, any Ghanaian will be able to sit in the comfort of their home and purchase household goods, food, clothing and other goods online and have them delivered to their home, as well as making payments without leaving their desk,” Dadzie explained.
Philip Sowah, the CEO of Airtel Ghana, said it was the duty of his outfit to provide infrastructure that will provide the platform for entrepreneurs to develop applications that would ride on this infrastructure and sustain the value chain.
Claude Hutch, the Product Development Manager of Dream Oval, explained that the prospective user would have to register on www. i-walletlive.com, after which Airtel money would be deposited into the newly-opened account.
When the simple procedure is complete, customers will be able to buy products from companies which use the iWallet service.
Journalists in Ghana were given a hands-on demo of how the Airtel Money m-commerce service works this week. The occasion was also used to showcase the Airtel Money mobile banking platform and ATM Cash-out; a first in West Africa.
Other services experienced by participants were airtime purchase service, cash-in, goods and services payment, micro finance daily contribution payment, cash-out service and money Transfer to Airtel Money customer and customers on other networks.
Aimed at offering customers an efficient alternative to cash transactions, Airtel Money empowers its customers with access to a convenient, secure and readily available way of making payments through the ubiquitous mobile money platform. The Airtel Money service is also expected to provide the unbanked in Ghana with access to banking services for the first time.
Airtel is already in partnership with leading international and regional banks including Zenith Bank, United Bank of Africa, Ecobank, Standard Chartered Bank and other corporate institutions notably Databank, DSTV and Gesroto to provide customers with more convenient ways of paying bills, contributing to investments, making deposits and withdrawals.
Other banks and service providers including GT Bank, UT Bank, Unibank, Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Marxmart, Koala and Melcom are in the process of piloting the Airtel Money service.
There are also more than 1 300 Airtel Money dealers, and 100 branches of partner banks, ensuring the wide availability of Airtel Money throughout Ghana.
Airtel Ghana Sales Director Luck Ochieng explained that Airtel aimed to deliver relevant and innovative mobile solutions to help customers overcome their daily challenges, stating that the company was once again offering Ghanaians the tools to feel free and improve their lives. “Our goal is to make communications, banking, payments, retail and infotainment affordable and accessible to all in Africa”, he stated.
He added that Airtel Ghana was also aiming towards creating safety by initiating a “cashless society”, where Airtel Money will be used to make direct purchases instead of the actual exchange of real money from one source to another.”
Kola Sonola, m-Commerce Director at Airtel Ghana, explained that Airtel Money, which previously was mainly a mobile money platform, had fully evolved into an m-Commerce network, offering four major services, namely service payments, money transfer, mobile banking and mobile top-up.
He said customers could pay their utility bills, DSTV subscription fees, buy Airtel credit, pay for goods, services and loans through Airtel Money as well as make corporate bulk payments and deposit or withdraw cash from a bank.
“Airtel money provides customers with a “mobile wallet” which allows them to use their mobile phones in much the same way as a bank debit card to transact with virtual money. It provides customers with increased security and flexibility, reducing the need to carry cash and ensuring prompt payments of bills, goods and services”, he stated.
Kola Sonola added: “Airtel Money also allows customers on other networks to enjoy the benefits of mobile money.”