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Simplifying bill payments in Cameroon

Simplifying bill payments in Cameroon

Life is too short to queue!
AES-SONEL has partnered with MAVIANCE GmbH (Germany) to offer Smobilpay™ (Smart Mobile Bill Payment), a service that allows AES-SONEL customers as well as the general public – to pay their electricity bills at their favorite point of sale (for example: bank, ,microfinance, petrol station, supermarket, etc.) as well as online.

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It is common place that paying bills in Cameroon in particular and Africa in general at times mutates into a “full time job”. How many times have you heard of stories about people waiting in lines for over 8 hours; at time spend up to three days to pay their utility bills? Then imagine this happening every month for every utility provider! It is therefore not surprising that Cameroon dropped 7 places in the World Bank’s index of the Ease of Doing Business for 2012.
Effort has been put in place to provide some relief to this situation by the utility companies on the ground. Notably, the major mobile phone providers are deploying mobile money solutions for bill payments. While similar solutions have been successful in other parts of the world like Kenya (M-PESA), such success is still far-fetched in Cameroon. These solutions do not take into consideration cultural and trust concerns that seem to be deep-rooted in Central and West Africa. After 18 months of bill payment using mobile money in Cameroon, penetration and usage rates are still very low, in spite of huge marketing campaigns and budgets.

Maviance, a German company based in Leipzig took the challenge to craft out a local solution adapted to the local problems and mindset. After a series of workshops and market research on the ground, some of the key results included the need for solutions that were simplicity, security, no/low IT knowledge from the consumer and the need to address the cultural problems of trust, especially with respect to virtual money. Smobilpay™ offers the possibility to every consumer to pay their bills in cash at a trusted merchant or the preferred location of their choice without any registration!

How does Smobilpay™ work?

smobilpay-how-it-works

Smobilpay™ is conceived as an integrated bill payment solution based on a network of third party bill collectors

  • Smobilpay™ integrates multiple service providers (water, electricity, phone credit, insurance etc.)
  • Smobilpay™ builds a network of third party bill collectors that act as points of payment (banks, microfinance, petrol station, supermarkets etc.)

A customer simply walks in a Smobilpay™ authorized agent location, pays their bill, gets a receipt and walks out. No registration, no need to top-up the credit on their phones, no need to enter any USSD code in their phones.
A dedicated customer service portal – www.smobilpay.cm provides self-service features that include amongst others the printing of full receipts, viewing the entire history of bill payments as well as setting reminders to pay bills on time.
To ensure the solution to perform well under local conditions, maviance worked together with AES-SONEL to perform joint field tests over a period of 12 months, leading to the issue of a product conformity certificate by AES-SONEL.

Making a difference in the Diaspora

Last year alone, over 6 billion dollars were paid by Africans in transaction fees! Imagine not having to transfer money, but to directly settle the bills of loved ones directly from your desk. This is not only comfortable and saves costs, but addresses other problems like money being allocated for other “emergencies” once received in Cameroon. Our Smobilpay™ team is working hard to ensure that paying the bills of your loved ones from your desk becomes a reality.

maviance GmbH
www.maviance.com