No matter where you stand on masks and vaccines, we can all agree on one thing — the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world forever. In particular, it changed how we spend, send, receive, and manage our money.
If you’ve started using a digital payment platform during the last two years, you know what we’re talking about. Governments across Africa and the world promoted digital payments to limit the spread of the virus, and transfer services became a lifeline for many. Perhaps you began sending money to relatives overseas, paying your utility bills online, or even dabbling in crypto.
The increased demand for money transfer services accelerated the adoption of digital payment platforms in Africa. In 2021, 84% of internet users in Kenya used a digital payments service to send or receive money — a much higher adoption rate than in Europe. The picture is similar in Nigeria, where 60% of internet users rely on mobile payments.
In Africa, where only 32% of people have a bank account, digital payment services have sped up the process of financial inclusion. African banks may be going the way of the dinosaurs, but financial services startups have spotted an opportunity to bring financial technology to Africa’s half a billion mobile users.
Digital payments are likely to remain relevant and continue growing in popularity in the post-COVID world. This article will highlight five of the top trends set to dominate the digital payments industry in 2022 and beyond.
1. Buy now, pay later
As the threat of inflation and a global recession continues to hang over our paychecks, it’s hardly surprising that buy now, pay later (BNPL) services are popping up all over the place.
Companies like CredPal and Sycamore in Nigeria and LipaLater in Kenya are some of the key players in Africa's BNPL space. They offer their users BNPL options, including buy now, pay in 30 days, or pay in installments.
According to Babatunde Akin-Moses, co-founder of Sycamore, “People are traveling and experiencing what is happening in foreign markets when you want to buy phones, cars or TVs. In Nigeria or Africa, it is mostly a cash economy. But people are seeing that there is a different way things can be done.” The company expects the popularity of BNPL to grow in Africa as it has in the rest of the world.
2. Loyalty programs go digital
Loyalty programs have been around forever, especially in retail stores, but gaining customer loyalty online has remained a somewhat tricky business — until now.
Platforms such as Pointspay allow you to accumulate points as you shop with your favorite brands. Each time you make a purchase using a debit or credit card, points are added to your Pointspay account. You can save your points up to splash on something special or spend them as you go, reducing the overall cost of each purchase.
3. In-store shopping with a twist
With the ongoing rise of e-commerce, it’s tempting to believe that in-store retail is dead. After all, 2.14 billion people made online purchases in 2021, compared to just 1.9 billion in pre-pandemic times. While this trend is set to stay, we’re likely to see a return to brick-and-mortar shopping as we adapt to post-pandemic life.
Many stores now offer hybrid shopping experiences and “semi-in-store” customer journeys, such as in-app purchases with in-store and curbside pick-up options. Expect to see more personalization and customization of shopping experiences as retailers vie for our attention and money.
4. The rise of social commerce
Social commerce — buying products directly through social media platforms — is another trend that accelerated during the pandemic. Social commerce turned shopping from a focused activity to a passive one — allowing you to shop while watching TV or sitting on the toilet.
Every social media platform has the potential to be a sales channel. Facebook and Instagram have been offering in-app shopping for a while now, which has proved particularly popular with the younger generation. In fact, 97% of Gen Z say they use social media as their main source of shopping inspiration.
Other social networks are set to follow in the footsteps of these Silicon Valley giants by embedding payments and making it easier than ever to shop on social media. Plus, more platforms are likely to embrace creator payments so you can support your favorite artists and creators, as Twitter did in 2021 with the introduction of Twitter Tips.
5. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a super app!
In 2022, the competition among digital payments apps is fiercer than ever. To stay relevant, they’ll have to go beyond digital payments and offer additional services such as digital wallets, hotel reservations, cryptocurrency investments, and financial education.
So-called “super apps” have already begun to emerge in the Asia-Pacific region — one of the most notable is India’s PayTM, which allows users to book plane tickets, rent cars, invest in stocks, and pay their utility bills all in one app.
As payment apps morph into lifestyle management apps, the trend is likely to spread to Africa and the rest of the world throughout 2022 and beyond.
Stay ahead of the curve with Chipper Cash
We can expect to see a lot of innovation in the coming years as financial service providers scramble to dominate the digital payments market. As they do, the role of cybersecurity, reliability, and transparency will be at the forefront of users’ minds when choosing which app best suits their needs.
In short, the financial services of the future will balance technological innovation with trustworthy processes — which is exactly what Chipper Cash offers.
Chipper Cash is a safe, transparent, and reliable digital payments app that operates in nine countries across Africa, the UK, and the US — with more countries being added soon. It allows you to make free international transfers and offers some of the lowest cross-border rates.
Not only that, but with Chipper, you can make online payments, invest in stocks and crypto, pay your bills, and even set up business payments.
At Chipper Cash, we take your safety seriously, so why not join 3 million users across Africa and download the app today?