Vodafone Ghana has introduced a new feature on Vodafone Cash, its mobile money platform, that offers customers interest-free, flexible payment options for various products and services, including smartphones, laptops, home appliances and travel packages. The new service, known as Pay Small Small (PaySS), allows customers to make mobile payments over a period of 3 to 12 months when they purchase products and services from any of Vodafone’s partners.
To subscribe, registered customers of Vodafone Cash must first visit and select an item from a partner’s shop. They can then set up the payment plan using the USSD menu. During the subscription process, the first installment will be deducted from the customer’s Vodafone Cash account, and subsequent payments will be made using the same process. Customers may also make full payment at any given time if they wish to do so, without any adverse consequences. After successfully paying in full, the customer can pick up the item from the shop or enjoy the service by providing a code that will be sent to them.
Mobile money has been extremely successful worldwide, especially in poorer countries and remote regions where it has been instrumental in n extending liquidity to so-called unbanked and under-banked segments of populations. Sub-Saharan Africa, where the most successful mobile money platform, Safaricom’s M-Pesa, originated, continues to be one of the most important markets for mobile money solutions.
Given that one of the main reasons for mobile money to exist—albeit certainly not the only reason—is to address the needs of economically disadvantaged customers, Vodafone Ghana’s installment option is a natural and, we think, very useful extension of the mobile money concept. Those customers in particular who depend on mobile money not just for convenience’s sake but because they lack access to traditional bank accounts and credit cards are likely to have difficulty making large purchases because of lack of cash on hand.
Vodafone Cash customers can use Pay Small Small to make manageable payments over time for goods and services, on what is essentially a “lay-away” plan. The lack of interest payments, as well as the flexibility that allows the customer to choose whether to pay in 3 month, 12 months, or anything in between, should be quite appealing to these customers.
We believe that by partnering with merchants and service providers in Ghana to make this payment process available to its subscribers, Vodafone will be serving the community, increasing its customer loyalty, burnishing its public image and, of course, promoting the general use and uptake of its mobile money service.