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Pivoting to the Digital Future: Secure eCommerce in Africa

Pivoting to the Digital Future

With digital payment volumes growing throughout the world, payment players in Africa must modernize their platforms to increase revenues, deliver innovative offerings and secure customers. But how can this be done in a continent as large — and as diverse — as Africa?

We recently hosted a webinar to explore the role ACI Secure eCommerce can play in delivering the global payments connectivity needed to drive eCommerce success for African merchants. I was joined by Amanda Mickleburgh, director of product management for fraud at ACI Worldwide, and Rahul Jain, co-founder and CEO at leading South African payments provider Peach Payments.

The growth opportunity

Since 2017, ACI has seen a 72 percent increase in its eCommerce business throughout Africa. In particular, Nigeria (162%), Kenya (75%), Morocco (67%) and South Africa (57%) have led the way in growth, 2017-2019. Unsurprisingly, this has led to growth in mobile payments and fintech investment within the continent, where there are 50 million newly registered accounts in Sub-Saharan Africa.

What’s more, Statista forecasts that eCommerce in Africa will grow from $16.5B in 2017 to more than $29B by 2022, and that the continent will have 476.5 million eCommerce users by 2024. According to Peach Payments, this growth has been further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has forced consumers to embrace eCommerce.

The fraud opportunity

Unsurprisingly, where transactions go, fraud quickly follows. SABRIC Annual Crime stats from 2019 show that card-not-present (CNP) fraud in South Africa increased for both credit and debit cards over the previous year. While ATM fraud remains the top fraud threat for Africa, mobile fraud is quickly becoming a close second.

For African merchants to maximize the full potential that eCommerce offers, they must deliver a customer experience that builds trust with shoppers. This is easier said than done, especially when measured against the backdrop of an increasing number of payment channels and cross-border expansion initiatives — two main drivers of increased profitability.

Global expansion

Cross-border expansion is a major driver of revenue growth. The obstacles, however, are numerous. Connecting to local, regional and global alternative payment methods and acquirers can prove quite difficult. This is in addition to maintaining compliance with the regulations of the various markets that merchants wish to enter.

Real-time payments

Real-time payments continue to grow throughout the world, and according to Rahul Jain (Peach Payments), this growth is one of the biggest trends to watch. “South Africa is talking about the rapid payments platform. I think we’re going to see some of that accelerate.” He also believes there’s a large challenge around banks allowing customers to use their existing accounts to pay online, which can be addressed by these new and upcoming real-time payment platforms and frameworks. This can play a huge role in driving eCommerce growth.

ACI Secure eCommerce

Given the paradigm shifts in payment channels, the growing opportunities both in-country and abroad, and the need to secure customers, merchants and PSPs have a huge task at hand. ACI Secure eCommerce serves as a robust merchant payments gateway for cross-border commerce.

The keys to the solution lie in its multi-layered fraud prevention and open RESTful API, which connects merchants and PSPs to a global payments network of local and cross-border acquirers and alternative payment methods. Combined, this allows for the creation of innovative payment journeys that include eWallets, mobile payments, bank transfers and more, in multiple languages and currencies.

For more information on ACI Secure eCommerce and insights from this expert panel, listen to the full webinar, 'Secure eCommerce in Africa: Are you ready to pivot to the digital future?' for an on-demand recording.