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The African payments industry is being reshaped by a convergence of global megatrends that will lead to greater convenience, improved experiences and greater financial inclusion.

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Markus Eichinger, Executive Vice President of Group Strategy at Wirecard, a global innovation leader in digital financial technology says that the payments industry is currently under pressure from a number of global mega trends that will reshape how consumers in developing and developed countries pay for goods. These include:

  • A move to cashless payments, which will be driven by a further increase in electronic payments supported by regulatory improvements - such as Europe's PSD2 regulatory framework - as well as the game-changing revolution of blockchain technology that enables electronic processing of cash-like virtual money;
  • Advances in artificial intelligence that are reducing payment risks on the merchant and acquirer side while producing convenient new customer-facing innovations such as AI-assisted chatbots, natural voice processing, and facial recognition and biometric identification that are revolutionising the check-out process;
  • Expanding mobility driving borderless payments innovation especially for smaller ecommerce companies in developing nations who struggle to access foreign markets due to challenges with multi-currency pricing and cross-border payment acceptance;
  • A renewed drive for financial inclusion to bring the estimated two billion adults worldwide without bank accounts into the formal economic fold, which in Africa will be driven mostly through innovation in mobile money services such as M-Pesa and WeChat Pay; and
  • Attempts to achieve frictionless customer experiences that don't put stress on the user or require unnecessary information, especially as customer experience becomes the defining differentiator in business.

He was speaking at an event in Cape Town introducing the rebrand of MyGate Communications, which was acquired by Wirecard in 2017 and will trade as Wirecard.

A reinforcing rebrand

"In addition to reinforcing our position as the leading global innovation driver for digital financial technology, the brand unification will help our clients scale their businesses," says Hannalie Marsh, General Manager for sub-Saharan Africa at Wirecard.

"We are now even better equipped to provide them with international opportunities, global technology capabilities and continued service excellence, all from our South African office."

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She added that, with immediate effect, MyGate will adopt the name Wirecard, unifying Wirecard's worldwide brand presence and reflecting the company's ability to support local clients with global opportunities.

"Africa's digital financial commerce market is thriving. As a result of the advancement of financial systems and technologies, the rebranding offers Wirecard a significant opportunity to leverage synergies, enabling the company to accelerate its strategic vision of further expansion in Africa."

An acquisition of significant value

Voted in 2016 as the "best online payment gateway in Africa' by Technology Innovator Awards, the MyGate Communications' acquisition has brought significant value to Wirecard's existing business.

By unifying the brand and service offering, African merchants now benefit from a comprehensive payment solution value chain, including payment acceptance and processing, issuing and a range of value-added services such as loyalty solutions and data analytics – all through one digital platform.

In addition to the integrated technology ecosystem, thousands of African merchants can also leverage Wirecard's extensive global expertise and support infrastructure.

As one of the world's fastest-growing digital platforms for financial commerce, Wirecard assists its customers with secure, end-to-end real-time solutions built around innovative digital payments across five continents and in more than 26 countries.

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