Skip to main content

A proximity payment, or contactless payment, is a form where customers transact by simply tapping or waving their payment devices. These devices can be a smartphone or cards close to a contactless-enabled payment terminal. Proximity payments typically use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to transmit payment information between the device and the terminal. 

In recent years, Africa has witnessed a surge in technological advancements that have revolutionised the continent’s payment systems. One of the most significant changes is the rise of Proximity payments. This innovative technology has transformed how people make payments, quickly becoming ubiquitous across Africa. We will explore the growth of Proximity payments in Africa, its benefits and challenges. Also we will delve into how these payments can be used effectively to improve financial inclusion on the continent.

What are mobile proximity payments?

Mobile proximity payment is a way of transferring money from one party to another using a mobile device. It can be done as person-to-person (P2P), consumer-to-consumer (C2C), consumer-to-business (C2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B). Mobile payment is a form of mobile financial services (MFS), banking, insurance, credit/lending and investing products. Cryptocurrency has recently complemented this, allowing consumers to make payments, trade, save and invest.

Mobile money has revolutionised financial access for low and middle-income economies, especially among the unbanked and underbanked populations. Mobile money has allowed millions without access to traditional banking services to transact and receive payments, reducing reliance on cash-based transactions. This has significantly impacted poverty reduction and economic growth, providing greater financial empowerment and stability for individuals and communities.

An image of a phone used for mobile proximity payments

The growth of proximity payments in Africa

The rise in the adoption of mobiles across the continent has created an environment where proximity payments can expand. GSMA figures reveal that Sub-Saharan Africa will continue its impressive growth rate in mobile wallet subscriptions. CAGR estimates predict an increase of 167 million subscribers by 2025, giving more than 600 million – half of the population. Nigeria and Ethiopia will experience tremendous growth rates of 19% and 11% over this period, respectively. 

The Global Payments Report-2023 reveals that Africa is shifting from cash transactions to digital and mobile payments. For instance, Nigeria’s digital wallet market is quickly expanding, equating to 10% of e-commerce and 14% of POS spending in 2021. 

The leading digital wallets are KongaPay, MTN MoMo, OPay, and Paga. Moreover, Digital wallets composed 20% of South African e-commerce transaction value in 2022 and 7% of POS spend; however, these percentages will skyrocket over the following years with a 25% CAGR in e-com and 29% CAGR at POS through 2026.

What is driving this growth?

Several factors are driving mobile proximity payments in Africa. One of the primary drivers is the rapid adoption of mobile technology across the continent, particularly in areas where traditional banking infrastructure is lacking or limited. 

In addition, a growing middle class in many African countries increasingly uses mobile payments to make purchases and perform financial transactions. This is particularly true in urban areas, where there is a greater concentration of wealth and access to technology.

Again, smartphones’ increasing availability and affordability in Africa have made using mobile payment platforms easier.Finally, the rise of innovative fintech solutions that offer convenience, security, and affordability, such as mobile wallets and QR code payments, has also contributed to the growing popularity of proximity payments in Africa.  Overall, there is an increasing recognition of the potential benefits of mobile payments for both individuals and the economy, which is helping to fuel the growth of mobile proximity payments in Africa.

Leveraging Tingg Instore proximity payments

Cellulant’s mission to accelerate Africa’s economic growth through digital payments has seen the emergence of Tingg Instore. This proximity payment service enables customers to make payments to businesses with physical stores without lengthy setup processes involving intricate hardware and software. Businesses in Africa can leverage Tingg Instore payments in several ways:

1. Increased sales and revenue: By accepting proximity payments, businesses can increase their customer base and sales. Customers are more likely to make purchases if they can pay using their mobile phones, which provides a convenient and secure payment method.

2. Cost savings: Proximity payments are often cheaper than traditional payment methods, such as credit and debit cards, which may require the payment of fees or interest charges. This makes mobile payments more affordable for businesses, helping them save money on transaction costs.

3. Improved customer experience: Proximity payments provide a seamless and hassle-free payment experience for customers, which can help to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. By providing a convenient payment option, businesses can differentiate themselves from competitors and improve their overall customer experience.

4. Access to new markets: By accepting proximity payments, businesses can reach new customers who may not have access to traditional banking services. This helps businesses expand their customer base and enter new markets, particularly in rural areas with limited access to banking services.

5. Enhanced security: Proximity payments are more secure than cash payments, which can be lost or stolen. Mobile payment platforms typically use encryption technology and other security measures to protect user data, which can help to improve the overall security of business transactions.t

Frequently asked questions

What are examples of Mobile payments?

Mobile payments are classified into proximity payments and remote payments. 

  • Proximity payments

Proximity payments use a mobile device close to the merchant’s payment terminal. These types of payments occur at a merchant point-of-sale (POS) location that is either attended, in a physical store, or unattended. These include Self-checkout kiosks, vending machines, or unmanned stores. Generally, proximity payments cater for small-ticket purchases such as fast food, fuel stations, and retail stores.

  • Remote payments

Remote payments refer to any transaction between a consumer and a merchant without the two parties being in close physical proximity. The payments include online purchases via mobile device, computer phone, or text message. Remote settlements rely on cellular networks or the internet to transmit data and complete transactions. Lastly, they are used for small and large-ticket purchases anywhere, making them very convenient for consumers.


In conclusion, proximity payments have experienced significant growth in Africa over the years, and this trend will continue. The high smartphone adoption, increased internet penetration, and the need for financial inclusion drive the growth of proximity payments in Africa. Furthermore, with advancements in technology such as blockchain, the potential for these payments to improve security is immense. Overall, the rise of proximity payments in Africa allows businesses to provide consumers with convenient and secure payment options. Businesses should leverage these payment systems today and enjoy broader markets and customer satisfaction. Are you ready to enjoy this innovative payment solution? Collect Digital Payments From Your Shop through Mobile Money, Bank Transfer & Card Payments.


Leave a Reply