Auto top-up for prepaid; the benefits of postpaid without the hassle

Auto top-up for prepaid; the benefits of postpaid without the hassle

Each and every mobile credit provider struggles with customer churn. So how do we keep prepaid customers coming back? The answer lies in giving more power to the people. 

Topping up is a tricky moment in the prepaid customer life-cycle. Unlike with postpaid, prepaid users are constantly faced with the question of whether or not they want to pay. When prepaid customers run out of credit, they may choose another provider, switch over to Wi-Fi for an extended period of time.

Automatic top-up = Power to the people

Many people with mobile phones choose prepaid because of the savings and the control it affords them. Many financially conscious consumers are wary of contracts and may not want to enter into a two-year binding agreement with a mobile phone provider.

It is true that some prepaid users, e.g. the elderly or very young, are provided with a phone by someone else. This person carries the responsibility of making sure their loved one can make calls or access the internet.

However, the stereotypical prepaid user or sponsor is aware of her spending habits. She checks her balance on the regular and tends to buy just enough credit to last a couple of days or weeks.

So how do you give a loyal yet financially conscious prepaid user more power? You do so by rewarding her with the choice of opting in for recurring payments, without binding contracts. Automatic top-up is a win for the user as well as the provider. The user is able to top-up automatically without binding commitments while the provider stabilises the prepaid revenue stream.

How automatic top-up works

So how does it work? Automatic top-up is simple. Whenever a user’s credit dwindles below a certain threshold, the credit is automatically purchased. Automatic top-up can also be set up as a recurring payment that occurs on a weekly or monthly date. If there’s no money in the bank account at the time of top-up, there’s no harm done. The user will just have to do it manually, that time.

Since automatic top-up is nonbinding, customers won’t have to stress about whether or not they can afford it and the legal/financial consequences thereof. Moreover, unlike with a postpaid contract, prepaid users with automatic top-up never have to worry about out-of-plan charges.

 

Auto top-up for prepaid; the benefits of postpaid without the hassle

Get to know your customers

The direct monetary benefit is obvious. If prepaid customers opt-in for automatic top-up, that translates into a more stable stream of revenue and a higher ARPU overall. But what about other benefits?

One of the main differences between prepaid and postpaid customers is there’s a wealth of information on the latter and little on the former. Prepaid phone users are generally anonymous. The person who originally bought the sim card might not be the person using it.

Not knowing how your customers think will lead to ill-informed business decisions. If you don’t know who your customers are, how are you ever going to reward them or make them personalised offers?

Making prepaid customers more postpaid-like is a surefire way of bringing anonymous users in from the shadows. Registering for automatic top-up gives your customers the opportunity to provide you with valuable marketing insights like demographic data and behavioural context.

Nowadays customers value convenience above anything else. Improve customer loyalty by treating them like royalty. Give them the tools necessary to lead easier lives and in return, they will become better customers.

 

About the author

Alper Altan – Reload Services
Business Development Manager

I’m Alper Altan, Business Development Manager at Alphacomm Solutions. I make sure that Alphacomm maximizes profit on existing customers as well as new business.

More about Alper »


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Why the Libra just might succeed

Facebook recently announced the launch of a brand new cryptocurrency. The new currency, which is slated to go into circulation in the first half of 2020, will allow users to own and transfer money without the need for a bank account.

Libra’s mission is to enable a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people. (Facebook, 2019)

What’s in a name?

The unit of currency is called “Libra.” The name choice is interesting. Ancient Romans used the Libra as their currency. The Libra currency of old Rome was based on a unit of weight (12 ounces). The Libra, in fact, is the precursor of the pound. Libra, in Latin, also means balance or scales.

Obviously, the name is no accident. Smart people spent some time doing research before coming up with it. Still, many folks in Australia are a bit less enthusiastic. After the announcement, some were quick to point out that Libra is the country’s number one brand of sanitary pads. Others have pointed out that the Calibra logo is basically the same as that of a popular digital bank.

The name isn’t exactly original either. In 2017, the Libra Credit, a crypto coin known as LBA, was launched by the Libra Foundation. The Libra Foundation was founded by former PayPal executives. It was launched as part of a blockchain-based decentralised lending platform. Today, its LBA coin is still under active development. However, after undergoing a name change in 2018, LBA currency is now referred to as Cred rather than Libra Credit.

Why the Libra is not going to fail

Two of the major issues facing cryptocurrencies are ease of access and stability of the currency. For the Libra to be a success, it will require mass adoption from the start. People who want it should be able to get it easily and have the peace of mind the Libra will remain stable for quite some time to come.

Access won’t be an issue. The Libra will be available in Messenger and WhatsApp as well as in a Calibra wallet (standalone app). Messenger and WhatsApp are used by 1.6 billion and 1.3 billion users respectively. The mobile app, a digital wallet named Calibra, will allow users to transfer Libra to any other smartphone user.

The stability of the Libra is maintained by a reserve that administers real assets. Every Libra that is minted, is backed by a basket of short-term government securities and bank deposits.

In other words, Libra is accessible, stable, and thanks to the backing of global players and institutions, it’s also scalable.

Don’t equate Libra with Bitcoin

Bitcoin and Libra both make use of blockchain technology. Still, an interesting difference between the likes of Bitcoin and Libra is that the latter plans to play nice with regulators. Libra, unlike most cryptocurrencies, is highly centralized and goes againt the spirit of what early pioneers like Bitcoin creator(s) Satoshi Nakamoto intended. Bitcoin was never meant to be regulated by financial institutions. Bitcoin along with many other altcoins that followed were launched on the basis of complete independence from regulation and total anonymity.

In many places around the world. this has led to the banning or restricting of (trading in) cryptocurrencies.

Libra, on the other hand, will be a product of the current financial system and live by its rules. In the short term, this means a quick rollout, fewer technical or regulatory hurdles and a shorter path to mass adoption.

It remains to be seen whether or not a successful launch of the Libra will normalise the ‘concept’ of blockchain technology and in so doing help bring cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or the lesser known Ether, and Monero out from the fringes and into the mainstream.

Who’s behind the cryptocurrency?

Perhaps, the main reason why the Libra is going to succeed, is the awe-inspiring list of names behind it. The Libra is managed by the Libra Association. It’s members, are companies that have all paid 10 million dollars or more to be considered its ‘founding members.’

At time of writing, this list of Founding Members includes companies in payment (Mastercard, Paypal, PayU, Stripe, Visa), marketplaces (Booking, eBay, Facebook, Farfetch, Lyft, Spotify, Uber), telecom (Vodafone, Iliad), blockchain technology (Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Xapo) as well as venture capital (Andreessen Horowitz, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital, Union Square Ventures) and nonprofits or education organisations (Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking).

Okay, if you’re into science fiction movies, you might have questions. A new global currency, launched by private multinational corporations, with a goal of introducing access to banking to 1.7 billion new users around the world? Let me address the underlying question. Do they own the money? No.

The Libra blockchain makes use of distributed governance. In a nutshell, this literally means that no single entity owns or controls the network. The fact that it’s built on open source code, means that developers, researchers and enthusiasts will be able to keep a close eye on it and monitor for security issues.

The Libra Association is an autonomous, nonprofit organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. Why Switzerland? Well, it’s a neutral country for starters and has been for centuries. It’s also very friendly towards blockchain technology and its related startups.

According to the Libra whitepaper, the goal is to have around 100 founding members by the time the currency launches.

So what does this mean for your business?

If you run an international e-commerce platform, it means you’ll end up accepting payments in an additional currency. Currency conversion isn’t something you generally need to lose any sleep over. As long as your payment gateway is properly set up to handle it, your clients will continue to buy from you and praise you for being quick to offer the latest payment methods. So, if you’re a global player in affordable goods or services, congratulations, your potential market is about to expand.

If you develop and sell (financial) services, things are about to get interesting. Developers, consumers and businesses will all be allowed to create and launch their own products on top of the Libra blockchain.

At Alphacomm Solutions, we’re going to be keeping a close eye on Libra. As always, you’ll be able to count on us to assist you when the time comes.

More than a billion people are about to join the digital economy. What are you going to do about it?

 

About the author

Alper Altan – Reload Services
Business Development Manager

I’m Alper Altan, Business Development Manager at Alphacomm Solutions. I make sure that Alphacomm maximizes profit on existing customers as well as new business.

More about Alper »


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Automatic Top-Up - Alphacomm Solutions - Reloads

Is your e-commerce or B2B website holding you back?

If you run an e-commerce or B2B site, you’re probably aware that there’s a positive correlation between a good user interface (UI) and a great user experience (UX).

It’s important to offer your visitors an experience they feel comfortable with and would love to return to time and again. After all, you want them to spend as much time as possible on your site, browsing your offerings and familiarising themselves with your brand.

Good UI/UX is good for SEO

Let’s not forget, ‘time on page’ is an important SEO metric. The longer visitors dwell on your site before leaving, the better. Keeping your visitors entertained and giving them things to do will offset the negative effects of a high bounce rate as it lets Google know the content on the landing page was relevant.

I recently came across this cool infographic by the kind folks at GetElastic. I’d like to highlight a few of the main points and share my own perspective.

Navigation

Logical and efficient site navigation is crucial to a good user experience. Only include menu items that visitors are generally interested in. Dropdown menus are an easy way to cram more links, but they are less desirable on mobile devices. If you have way too many links, try moving a couple to the website footer or place them in a sidebar. Tip: When designing your website, think ‘mobile first’ and you’ll probably end up with a better (less cluttered) desktop experience.

 

Site Search

Site search is one of the most overlooked elements of any site. The argument against search boxes usually goes something like this, “there’s no space for it on the site,” or my favourite, “we don’t need it, everything can be found easily enough.” It is often thought that search boxes are only necessary on webshops and that more informative B2B sites wouldn’t need them. However, many people actually use site search. It helps them find what they are looking for, without having to navigate through the site structure. Especially if they’ve visited your site before, and know the content exists, search will help them get there faster.

Avoid slideshows

Slideshows and carousels have worn their welcome. They take up a lot of valuable real estate and few people have the patience for them. Generally, visitors just scroll past slideshows without paying attention. Studies have also shown that people who do notice them, only remember the first slide. So, how about just placing a fixed image and sharing one well-crafted message?

 

website layouts

 

Once you have your UI/UX down, it’s time to use a bit of persuasion.

Persuasion

If people don’t want it enough, show them why it’s scarce. Richard Cialdini is the leading authority on persuasion. Of course, he wrote a book on it. In ‘Influence,’ Cialdini lays out his six scientifically validated principles of persuasion.

  • Reciprocity
  • Consistency
  • Consensus
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Scarcity

Let’s take a closer look at three of these principles and how to implement them throughout your website.

Consensus

Consensus is basically social proof or word of mouth. People trust each other a lot more than they trust brands. Make sure to add or allow reviews and testimonials on your product pages. You should never be afraid of reviews. Though some might be unfair, most will always be true. After all, if a product you’re selling overwhelmingly has negative reviews, then you should probably stop selling it. Social proof also translates to social media. If you run an Instagram profile, a high number of followers will make people believe you must be on to something and worth paying attention to.

Authority

It’s easier to sell products and receive referrals when you are regarded as an expert in your field. Maintaining an insightful blog in which you share tips or industry insights might definitely help.

Furthermore, if you run a webshop, placing relevant trust badges (or seals) on your pages might help increase trust as well as boost your conversion rate. Especially when people visit your webshop for the first time, seeing these familiar badges might help put their minds at ease. To name a few:

  • Paypal verified
  • Hacker Safe
  • Mcafee secure
  • Verisign
  • Trustpilot

source: conversionxl.com

Scarcity

Scarcity is perhaps the most famous persuasion principle of them all. Products and services become more wanted when shoppers think availability is limited. Basically, if you want to increase demand, reduce supply and do so visibly. Booking.com is notoriously famous for applying Cialdini’s principles of scarcity on their website.

You might have noticed the panic attack inducing messages like ‘10 people are looking at this room right now’, ‘1 person just booked 10 seconds ago,’ and of course ‘only 1 room left at this price.’

There are more ways of doing this. For example, showing how much of the products are in stock, offering seasonal/limited time only promotions/products, or showing a timer that counts down to when same-day delivery becomes next-day delivery.

 

 

For more tips on how to improve your website, check out the infographic by GetElastic.
To find out more on the principles of persuasion, visit the official Richard Cialdini website.

 

 

About the author

Alper Altan – Reload Services
Business Development Manager

I’m Alper Altan, Business Development Manager at Alphacomm Solutions. I make sure that Alphacomm maximizes profit on existing customers as well as new business.

More about Alper »


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Automatic Top-Up - Alphacomm Solutions - Reloads

Cash is dead, long live digital cash!?

In my previous blog, Cash is king, but for how long?, I discussed the global cashless trend. In a nutshell, recent studies show that consumers are using payment cards more often, for all sorts of purchases. At the same time, in Britain, cash machines were disappearing and along with them, people’s access to cash.

Today, five countries are home to more than fifty per cent of the world’s cash machines. Four of these countries, Brazil, China, Japan and the USA all saw a decline in the past year. While it’s true that all around the world, populations are replacing their cash for cards and access to cash is becoming harder, there’s still a caveat to this trend.


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light;
-Dylan Thomas – 1914-1953


Will cash go gentle into that good night?

A new RBR study, Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2024, shows that the number of cash machines around the world fell by 1% (roughly 700,000) in the last year. However, in developing economies and those in transition throughout the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Latin America, cash machines are actually on the rise. India saw very slow growth in the number of cash machines, but growth nonetheless.

As the decline of cash machines in developed markets continues, so will the growth of cash machines in developing markets. Will this growth continue unabated? No, it will not. Still, in the coming years, this offset will lead to a rather slow decline in cash machines, from 3.24 million in 2018 to 3.22 million in 2024. The impending cash extinction will one day be upon us, but it won’t happen everywhere all at once.

 

 

When the time comes, will cash be missed? Perhaps, for a little while. But going cashless has its benefits. To name a few:

Safety – Cash is dangerous

Safety has always been a concern when it comes to cold hard cash. For many businesses, the less cash on the premises, the better. Especially as contactless payments become the norm, the less time spent on the handling and changing of money will result in faster service and shorter waiting lines for consumers.

Health – Cash is dirty

It’s also a matter of maintaining good hygiene. Did you know flu viruses can live on paper money for up to 17 days? At the London Met, an investigation into the hygiene of money found that cash in circulation contained life-threatening superbugs like MRSA as well as bacteria like Listeria. This is especially a problem for people with weak or weakened immune systems.

Scale – Cards are less messy

Major cities are also taking note. Here in the Netherlands, try paying a bus driver in cash, and she’ll just turn you away. In cities like Rotterdam, the entire public transport system is card-based. Same goes for London, where the Oyster card is your gateway to all transit options. As we speak, the city of Paris is about to launch a card-based payment method for its metro system. Passengers with a Navigo Easy card will be able to recharge their credit with their smartphones, further separating the virtual from the physical world.

Data – Cards are insightful

One of the aspects that few people think about is that card payments are easier to track. Measurements and financial reporting are more accurate when people use cards. Cards tell us a lot more than money spent. Cards tell us who spent it, where and when. Cards allow for predictive analytics that ideally improve the experiences of consumers.

Still, fraud is not going away

Technically, a card is only as valuable as the amount of cash it represents. However, the ‘danger’ of handling cash is also moving into the digital era. As the speed and overall value of transactions increase, so does the speed at which fraudsters operate.

Instead of looking over their shoulders, customers now rely upon you, the business owner or manager, to make sure their transactions are protected in the online environment. So of course, this naturally begs the question: what’s the digital and legal equivalent of a sawed-off shotgun hidden under the counter?

Well, you’d need a system. Ideally, a payment system with a 100% payment guarantee, that detects fraud but also prevents it from happening. A system with seamless integration and advanced business intelligence tools for invaluable insights that give you a competitive advantage.

I think I might know of such a system.

Get in touch with our team for more information on our payment services.

Alphacomm Solutions whitepaper: how automated payment reminder systems boost your credit management performance

Andrew Collins
New Business Development Manager

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The future of prepaid top-up

The future of prepaid top-up. What’s your prediction?

From scratch cards to websites. From chatbots to voice assistants. The world of prepaid top-up is evolving faster and faster. How will we top up our prepaid phones in the near and distant future?

The year is 1876. In Boston Massachusetts, a 29-year-old teacher of the deaf, who had been working on all sorts of inventions in his spare time, is finally awarded a patent for what would later become the telephone.

Innovation leads to more innovation

This teacher, who went by the name Alexander Graham Bell, was working on a device that could accurately reproduce the human voice. He came upon this idea, by working on the ‘harmonic telegraph,’ an improvement of the telegraph. This improvement, which meant expanding the range of audio frequencies, led to the ability to transmit a lot more messages simultaneously, truly laying the groundwork for a means of mass communication. As for the telegraph itself? It relied on a constant flow of electricity, so it basically came about thanks to the invention of the electric dynamo by Michael Faraday.

Simply put, if every innovation leads to another, being able to predict what’s next is perhaps one of the greatest skills a person or organisation could have. Right?

But hey, even if we can’t accurately predict the future, we can certainly analyse the past, understand the present and make informed guesses as to the opportunities that lie ahead.

Alexander Graham Bell sketch of telephone

The Prepaid phone

The telephone has come a long way since 1876. In the following 143 years since, the telephone has become more accessible and even more indispensable. It has changed shape, become mobile and is now available in a wide range of categories. From cheap and sturdy to expensive and fragile. Fortunately, for millions of people around the world, so have the various options to pay for such a service.

Service you say? Well, the device is one thing, but the service it provides is so much more. The phone allows people to connect, regardless of distance or social standing. Thanks to connectivity, people are able to remain in touch with loved ones, become more productive and have a better quality of life.

Whereas the societal impact of the mobile phone is one that simply cannot be denied. The prepaid mobile phone is truly a game changer. The prepaid phone has allowed developing nations to leapfrog into the future, skipping the age of the landline.

Prepaid top-up

For the millions upon millions of people with prepaid phones, connectivity can only be hampered by one thing; the ability to top-up.

We all know the traditional way of topping up phone credit. It generally goes like this: you dress up, leave the house, go to a store, purchase the prepaid scratch card, find a place to read the instructions, send a specific code to a specific phone number and hope you put in the code right within the first three tries or end up having to buy a new one.

Thankfully, topping up your phone today is easier than ever. You don’t even have to do it yourself. If you live in a remote area or lack an internet connection, a friend or family member elsewhere can top up your phone credit remotely.

In recent times, innovations in top-up are moving pretty fast. Technology is changing, allowing for more technical possibilities. As a consequence, people’s behaviours and expectations are changing as well. Naturally, the top-up landscape is changing along with them.

So, where do we go from here?

The first wave: Chatbots / Dash buttons

The first wave is already upon us. Chatbots have enabled users to top up their phones from wherever they may be, as long as they have an internet connection and a messaging app on their phone. Once the user initiates the conversation, the chatbot asks a few questions and the transaction is made. A good example of this is the WhatsApp chatbot available through aufladen.de in Germany.

In most parts of the world, just about everybody has WhatsApp on their phone. So users don’t need to download yet another app to their device.

And how about dash buttons? A dash button is a nifty little device that is connected to a user’s Wi-Fi. Whenever the user taps the button, a message is sent to the supplier and a confirmation request is sent to the user’s inbox.

For about four years, Amazon sold dash buttons that enabled its Prime users to order just about anything with the tap of a button. From toothpaste to condoms. However, as of March 1st 2019, Amazon stopped selling physical dash buttons. Why? Because the company noticed user preferences were shifting towards voice assistants and subscriptions.

Amazon may have given up on theirs, but the concept of a dash button goes beyond a physical device. A button on your phone’s home screen is perhaps a more useful ‘dash button.’ What if all you had to do to top-up your phone, was ‘tap and confirm’?

The second wave: Voice Assistants

As we ride the chatbot wave onto the shore, a brand-new swell is already on its way: the voice assistant. If you own an Apple or Android device, you already have one in your hand.

Asking the voice assistant on your phone for directions makes life easier. Asking it to tell a joke or beatbox can be funny. But how about asking your phone to top-up its own credit or someone else’s?

Voice assistants are becoming more popular and many homes already have one. Have you embraced it yet? Do you think mobile phone top-up through voice assistants is going to be the next big thing for prepaid users?

The third wave: Augmented reality? Or something else?

Once we’ve mastered the art of ‘asking’ computers to top up our phone credit and gotten used to chatting with bots, what will be next?

Given the way in which one innovation often facilitates another. Is voice going to pass the baton to augmented reality? Mercedes-Benz is already combining voice and augmented reality in their navigation systems. You use your voice to ask your car for directions. While driving, graphics are layered over a real-time video of the road ahead. Or what about holographic technology? Back in 2012, we saw Tupac Shakur perform at Coachella.

Summoning a hologram, only to ask it to top up your phone seems like a hassle though.

What’s your prediction?

Will we top up our phones by commanding robots? Or will neural implants simply ‘know’ what we need and take care of it? Will our concepts of money, currency and payment evolve altogether? Or will the availability of free Wi-Fi and messaging apps simply kill the need for prepaid top-up?

I’d love to hear what you think the future of prepaid is going to be like. Get in touch!

 

Interested in driving changes in prepaid phone plans to your company? Contact sales to arrange a free consultation.

If you have any question about our reload services please let me know. I’ll be happy to answer!

About the author

Alper Altan – Reload Services
Business Development Manager

I’m Alper Altan, Business Development Manager at Alphacomm Solutions. I make sure that Alphacomm maximizes profit on existing customers as well as new business.

More about Alper »


Related articles
Automatic Top-Up - Alphacomm Solutions - Reloads