The Instant Payment Notification (IPN) Hub is an industry utility created by the GSMA to enable ecosystem players to connect more easily to mobile money providers – bringing fundamental utility services (such as electricity, water and sanitation) to off-grid populations.
The IPN Hub is live in Rwanda and connects two leading pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar providers -BBoxx and Off Grid Electric – with the two mobile money providers in the market – MTN and Airtel-Tigo. The IPN Hub has now processed notifications for over 1.5 million unique payment transactions and has supported up to 100,000 Rwandan households with clean, life-changing energy.
Currently, we are focused on two specific initiatives to ensure that the IPN Hub delivers more utility to the PAYG services sector, outlined below.
1. Rapid geographical expansion of the IPN Hub
While the IPN Hub continues to thrive in Rwanda, it has also expanded geographically. In Eastern Africa, the IPN Hub has expanded into Uganda and will also be available in Kenya from October 2018. Although the Hub is not yet integrated with all mobile money providers in these countries, our aim is to ensure that it enables PAYG service providers in these markets to receive instant notification of payments from all leading mobile money platforms, through a single integration.
The IPN Hub is pushing for a strong foothold in West Africa, where the PAYG Solar sector is nascent. With that in mind, discussions are underway between the leading mobile money platforms and PAYG service providers in countries such as Senegal and Nigeria. Beyond these markets, the IPN Hub also aims to support the growth of the PAYG sector in Burkina Faso, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon by February 2019.
2. Exploring the IPN Hub’s utility for service providers beyond the PAYG solar sector.
The IPN Hub was introduced as a solution to specifically support the PAYG solar sector by providing a single point of integration to receive instant notification of payments from multiple mobile money providers. This functionality supports the payments process initiated by a customer through the mobile money provider’s USSD Menu. As such, the IPN Hub can support PAYG providers by leveraging this mode of payment to quickly scale in a new country.
After acquiring mobile money merchant accounts from the mobile money providers, the service providers can utilise the existing technical integration between the mobile money providers and the IPN Hub to receive instant notifications of payments. This will save them the hassle of integrating to each mobile money provider individually, which is often a very time-consuming and costly process.
While the hub offers limited functionality and only passes on information linked to payments (i.e notification of payments, but not payments processing), its ability to provide this functionality across a large geographical footprint is one of its unique strengths.
There are numerous services in the mobile money ecosystem that follow a PAYG business model beyond PAYG solar, and we believe that they can similarly benefit from the IPN Hub’s seamless single-point integration for instant notification of payments. In this report, we explore the utility of the IPN Hub beyond PAYG Solar with a particular emphasis on the transport sector. We also highlight that the IPN Hub is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and is strategically designed to offer payment notification functionality only.
Other service providers in different sectors requiring an expanded set of payment functionalities may wish to integrate this into their interface, whether apps, web or their own USSD menus. These service providers can leverage payments APIs from mobile money providers or intermediaries. The GSMA’s Mobile Money APIs is a set of API specifications created to make integrations easier, and the functionalities of the GSMA Mobile Mobile APIs are also explored in this report.