If it didn’t work the first time, why would MTN’s mobile payments service work now?That’s the question journalists and analysts have asked since the announcement that Africa’s largest mobile operator has brought its Mobile Money (MoMo) service back to its home country.Both MTN and Vodacom shut down previous versions of their mobile money services in 2016. Embarrassingly for Vodacom, it had to admit to the local failure of M-Pesa, which is wildly successful in Kenya, with 25.57-million users.What difference does four years make, the sceptics have asked.It turns out a lot. Today you can pay at most urban stores using SnapScan or Zapper — pure-play apps that let you settle a bill by scanning a QR code. Or you can tap a Samsung smartphone or one of its smartwatches using Samsung Pay. I regularly use Fitbit Pay, using my Versa 2 smartwatch (at least twice in December when I left my wallet at home).But all of these fantastic payment services use a smartphone and a credit card. That is an ...

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