Emerging Markets Payment Index: Q1 2018

Emerging Markets Payment Index: Q4 2017 update

Our latest report is intended to be used by digital media companies for benchmarking their revenue in markets with high smartphone growth and low credit card penetration.

The Emerging Markets Payment Index focuses on countries highlighted by GfK in its global forecast as the largest tech device growth markets. These countries are India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Vietnam, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia and the Philippines.

These markets differ significantly from mature Western countries, where the current user base of most digital merchants is located. The main trends in the industry driven by these countries are:

  • Emerging regions drive new smartphone adoption, while sales in mature markets decline
  • Mobile data consumption in these regions is growing faster than in mature markets
  • Service quality on mobile needs to equal desktop, as emerging regions are mobile-only
  • merging markets have tipped web usage in favour of mobile devices

As a result, digital merchants who want to sustain their user base and revenue growth need to focus on these countries, but do so through a customized, localised approach to user acquisition, monetization and retention. The Emerging Markets Payment Index provides an overview data that merchants can use to account for of the individualities of these fastest growing mobile markets of the world.

The payment index aggregates data from all platforms (web, mobile web, feature phones, smartphones, smart TVs) and app stores connected to Fortumo’s carrier billing platform.

How to increase payment conversion?

March overview: what happened in the digital ecosystem?

Growing the percentage of successfully paying users is one of the most important goals for any digital and e-commerce business and its importance as a key performance indicator keeps growing. Better payment conversion means more users, more revenue and lower average customer acquisition costs. But how to get more people to make payments?

One way how to approach the challenge of improved payment conversion is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and separately, to analyze the data that you have on them and iterate on that. What is preventing them from making the payment and can that reason be resolved?

Below we have brought out a few ideas for benchmarking your payment service so you can make sure you’ve covered all angles with your payments strategy.

Read more »

March overview: what happened in the digital ecosystem?

March overview: what happened in the digital ecosystem?

Hope you managed to get through the first day of April without too many pranks. Time to get back to serious business! Below you can find an overview of the biggest news stories from the digital ecosystem in March.

Though not technically from March, the biggest story of the past period was undoubtedly the IPO of our good partner Spotify: congratulations! On our side, we shed some light on the digital ecosystem of Central & Eastern Europe. Check it out!

For other major stories, continue reading:

General mobile



Digital content


Mobile operator partnerships: the next step in the evolution of mobile commerce?

Mobile operator partnerships: the next step in the evolution of mobile commerce?

This article originally appeared in POSitivity Magazine, published by Merchant Payments Ecosystem. For other issues of the magazine, please visit MPE's homepage.

In Western markets, the payment needs of mobile commerce merchants are covered by card-based and banking (direct debit) payment solutions. Virtually everyone has a bank account and two thirds of consumers are credit card owners. When expanding internationally, collecting payments becomes problematic.

In rapidly growing emerging economies of the world where most new users are coming from, traditional payment methods are not available to most of the audience. In India, just 53% of people have a bank account and 4% own a credit card. In Nigeria, the numbers are at 44% and 3% and in Indonesia, 36% and 1% respectively. Even in a relatively advanced market like Poland, 28% of people don’t have a bank account and 56% don’t have a credit card.

This means mobile commerce merchants entering new markets need to adopt additional payment methods in order to bring new paying users on board. This gap is increasingly being filled by mobile network operators (MNOs). There are more than 500 million mobile money accounts in usage globally, with 43 million transactions occurring each day and $22 billion processed on a monthly basis.

90% of these mobile money services are provided by MNOs and their financial subsidiaries such as Airtel Money, Easypaisa, Indosat Dompetku, M-Pesa and Axiata Boost. In addition to mobile wallets, most MNOs also provide carrier billing by default to their subscribers, meaning online payments through telcos are available to any mobile phone owner.

Carrier billing in the past has been a niche payment method, due to its limited technological capabilities and low payouts compared to bank-based payment solutions. Today, this is no longer the case.

Companies including Apple, Google, Amazon, Netflix and Spotify have adopted the payment method because the commercial terms match what they get from card-based payments. Carrier billing today is a tokenized, card-grade payment method with bigger reach and a better user experience, especially on small-screen devices.

Whether it’s working together on mobile wallets or carrier billing, MNOs and mobile commerce merchants need each other. On one side, MNOs are struggling with subscriber and revenue growth, creating the need to seek out new business lines.

On the other side, it’s increasingly difficult for merchants to collect payments from users. For example, India smartphone ownership has grown from 13% to 40% in the past 5 years while credit card ownership has essentially stood still, growing from 1.4% to 1.9%.

Compared to “regular” payment service providers, MNOs can bring much more to the table for merchants. Beside the abilities to charge users, they have mechanisms in place for user authentication, locational and behavioral tracking, online and offline sales enablement and promotion of online services.

This means mobile commerce merchants can leverage MNOs in three strategic areas: as customers for reselling of their content and goods, as marketing channels for merchant promotions and as payment partners for enabling purchases of said items.

Such partnership are growing increasingly frequent across the world: Easypaisa customers can make purchases in Xiaomi’s online store; international companies are using M-Pesa for paying local employee salaries; Telia provides travel insurance to its subscribers through its insurance partners; GCash works with remittance service providers to enable international wire transfers to its users; Telenor has integrated MasterCard into its wallet and PayMaya offers subscribers a VISA card tied to their wallet account.

For mobile commerce merchants, MNOs are a powerful partner not just in enabling payments to more users, but also in user acquisition and promotion of their services. If you’ve not yet reached out to telcos in markets you plan to expand into during the upcoming years, what are you waiting for?

What industry events should you visit in 2018?

What industry events should you visit in 2018?

The dust from Mobile World Congress is finally beginning to settle, but that doesn’t mean the world will stop. There are numerous other events taking place across the world focusing on the mobile ecosystem. But which one to visit next?

For those of you operating at the crossroads of digital, payments and telecommunications, we have put together an overview of what we think are the most notable events taking place during the year.

Hope you find the list useful and get the chance to visit at least a few of the events. If we missed anything big, let us know in the comments section below!

General industry events


VOD & music streaming



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