From the first electronic payment sent by telegram in 1860 to the first mobile payment made via SMS to a Coca-Cola vending machine in 1997, there is a long history of trying to make handling money even simpler and more convenient for consumers. Technology is a well-established part of this process and recently the internet and mobile boom have increasingly moved money from the consumers’ pockets into digital and mobile wallets.
You can now receive your salary, pay bills, buy groceries, lend, borrow and receive money from banks or friends, instantly and without touching a single penny. The digital money revolution has been global and unstoppable making this possible for anyone, anywhere in the world. And now it’s being used by everyone, from disruptive start-ups to the largest banks.
However, with different technologies evolving at different rates in different regions, delivering a reliable service to every user poses a significant problem for digital money providers. No two users are the same and providing a consistent service requires supporting the full spectrum of mobile devices – from the latest smartphones to the most basic feature phones. A huge variety of devices can be seen across almost every market, regardless of the level of economic development, which makes communicating with every customer far from a simple exercise. Reaching and engaging all of them present a significant challenge for any company.
There is only one channel that can reach almost every customer, in any market, regardless of device – professional SMS messaging. As the digital money revolution spreads worldwide, businesses can send personalised, real time updates using Application-to-Person (A2P) SMS which has become an important feature for helping to give users anywhere in the world a uniform customer experience. SMS messaging is a tried and tested communication channel and is already widely used to send time-critical notifications, alerts and reminders to users, but it has many benefits for mobile money too.
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A2P SMS specialists are now able to offer sophisticated platforms which enable businesses to put customers in the driving seat when deciding how a mobile money company communicates with them. A smartphone user might opt for app notifications, whereas a feature phone owner can receive the same content via an SMS, in the same time frame and anywhere in the world. Plus if a smartphone user is out of mobile data or Wi-Fi range, the SMS fall-back feature makes sure the content is received regardless. A global e-commerce site or a money transfer app must be able to communicate important information, such as purchases made or payments received, in real-time and SMS is the perfect way to interact with all customers.
SMS does not only offer a great communication channel but can also allow financial services providers to offer an extra layer of security, a real asset an age where security threats are a huge concern for consumers. When logging into an online or mobile service, SMS can be used to send an additional code to the user’s mobile number helping to prevent fraud and authenticate the user keeping their money safe and giving them peace of mind. As this form of two-factor authentication is SMS based it has the advantage of allowing financial service providers to roll out extra security to an entire global user base. This type of two-factor authentication can also be introduced before finalising a purchase or money transfer, as well as when installing a mobile app as an extra, welcome security measure to protect the users.
For mobile money providers, introducing professional SMS services is a simple process as specialised providers offer flexible APIs to integrate A2P SMS into any web or mobile app. In order to achieve a truly global reach, there must be a guarantee of high quality coverage worldwide and this is where an SMS provider with direct connections to mobile operators is essential. This along with technical support and assistance is the key to achieving the highest level of service quality.
For mobile money providers the world is their oyster. There is huge global appetite for digital financial applications and it is vital that the companies developing them do not limit themselves through being unable to communicate with a global customer base. SMS offers a simple, inexpensive and reliable way to engage with customers and gives mobile money providers the opportunity to flourish across the globe.