When was the last time you tried to buy a song online or an App from an online store and with what ease was your money leaving your account? If you asked me what I remembered about my first app purchase online I would tell you, that I didn’t even feel I was buying the app, because the whole process is so fast and seamless that you don’t even notice the money leaving your account until the bank sends you the statement.
This process is when I use my VISA card which is already connected to my online wallet and hence it simplifies the online transactions for me. Taking you back to Ugandan Startups, building local apps is one thing and making money online is another.
One of the reasons we all can’t control is the restriction of Merchant accounts and not having Uganda as a country where developers can sell their apps on some if not all Playstores. This is not something Startups can control, the other reason is that the payment systems like Mobile Money which Startups would take advantage of is not accessible to these teams and the few it is accessible to, are having a lot of steps still involved in withdrawing the money from the paying customer.
If I was to come to your website and I wanted to buy something from you, and everytime I had to do that I would have to input my Phone number—-> Send a request to my phone—–> Approve I want to pay bills—–> Select Bill( your company)—–> Put my Pin—–> Wait for confirmation Code ——> Go back to the Website ——> Input the confirmation Code—–> Buy then I would feel inconvenienced by the long process because it is poor customer service.
However much your website might be converting buying customers am very sure along all these step you will be losing paying customers whether you want it or not. I would rather take my money somewhere else than go through this long process.
I would recommend the telecoms in Uganda that have Millions of customer using Mobile Money to atleast shorten the process and provide an API to startups that only requires me to put my PIN and then buy something online, this is the way things should be and all am asking the big Telecoms is to securely ease the access for these startups.
Startups need to make money and scale in Uganda but there is little chance of this if they can’t even sell their products to the local users they are meant to target, am very sure this will be a Win-Win for both the Startups and the Telecom companies. I just don’t want the telecoms to say they didn’t see this coming if Banks making this their problem and disrupt the future of online transactions in Uganda.