All that is set to change. Thanks to mobile network operator XL and their business partner Fusion Payments, you can now top up your pre-paid airtime using a credit or bank debit card straight from your hand phone. It's safe, secure and simple no matter when or where you are.
More products are coming soon. First up will be data packs so you can buy Internet access directly and not have to go through the hassle of converting airtime to gigabytes while trying to figure out and choose from the bewildering array of plans. Then it will be on to paying bills and buying vouchers for electricity, water, and cable TV. No more having to go out and hunt for a shop in order to make sure you stay connected or keep the lights on, no matter what time of day or night.
Why has it taken so long for mobile online shopping and buying to be commonplace when it has been for years from the desktop? After all, according to research firm Vela Asia, more than $8 billion of purchases were made via ecommerce in Indonesia in 2013. Let's take a look at the reasons.
"Up until now the biggest challenge has been the lack of infrastructure, which is the same as in nearly every aspect of Indonesian life," explains Gregg Marshall, Executive Vice President, Fusion Payments.
The Internet and the ecommerce that flows through it is like a matrix of pipes and connections. These pipes and connections deliver all kinds of information to and from places where people need and demand it. In order to buy something from your mobile operator, like airtime, their payment connections have to be connected to banks and credit card processors. If one wants to buy something else, like an electricity voucher, the operator has to be connected to that company that is selling the electricity and any others that want to sell through the operator. It's complex mesh of connections - necessary and critical to success.
"In the U.S. and Europe companies like PayPal have built the payments gateways and connections by hooking up online merchants to accounts making ecommerce work everywhere. But that hasn't happened in Indonesia until now. Today, XL working with Fusion Payments, has decided to put the infrastructure in place, in other words to connect the plumbing to enable Indonesian to top-up, to purchase goods and services on e-commerce sites using your credit and debit cards," says Marshall.
Secure Transactions online in Indonesia
Security is another important area that is being fortified. New measures called 3D Secure deployed globally by Visa and MasterCard make it almost impossible for hackers and thieves to steal and use other people's cards. Based on the two factor authentication, the 3D Secure system sends a one-time password (and OTP) to your hand phone to validate that you are the person using your card in online transactions. This code then has to be sent back to the system by you, the user. At that point your bank approves the charge to your card and your purchase is safely and securely completed.
So even if someone steals your card details they can't use your card because only you, can receive the OTP to your phone. Fusion Payments delivers all the OTP codes on behalf of banks in Indonesia and guarantees that no one but the recipient's phone ever receives that code. 3D Secure has been implemented by all banks in Indonesia, so consumers need to check with their banks to make sure they are enrolled and their hand phone is registered and associated with their respective cards.
According to Gregg Marshall, Executive Vice President, Sales Fusion Payments, "regardless of the increased security and rising confidence, many of us remain reluctant to shop online because the buying process is so long and cumbersome. Online merchants talk about rates of "shopping cart abandonment," as customers crawl through screen after screen filling in fields with required information, then get frustrated and close their sessions before buying."
Convenience and security
This has now been fixed as well. You can register your card with XL after making a first purchase and have your card "tokenized," which means your card details are safely locked away in a processor's hack-proof vault. The next time you make an online purchase, a string of numbers acting as substitute or "token" to unlock your card details is sent, along with a PIN that only you know. Those numbers mean something only to the card processor who approves them and your card details remain forever hidden from prying eyes.
XL has put this in place for its Isi Pulsa Otomatis service. If you register your card once all your future purchases will happen with one or two clicks and no long processing wait.
For XL this is the first step in a journey to become not just a household name in mobile services but also as an e-commerce payment brand.
For now, at least, one of Indonesia's e-commerce infrastructure headaches is being cured. You can buy airtime directly and manage your life from your hand phone as you sit in traffic and wonder whether the government will soon be able to start relieving Indonesia's other infrastructure woes.
Top up your phone directly at: https://isipulsa.xl.co.id/
About InterAcct Solutions Group
InterAcct Solutions Group is a specialist business-to-business mobile solutions provider. The company was founded in 2001 having developed proprietary technology that facilitates the deployment of applications and services that initially utilized the benefits of USSD technology but now form a complete integrated platform for banking, payment and authentication on all mobile and PC channels. InterAcct Group is headquartered in Singapore with operating offices and legal entities in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Sydney. For more information, please see www.iasgrp.com.
For InterAcct Solutions Group