The ATM market is likely to face considerable challenges from alternative payment methods such as mobile money payment solutions, currently taking foothold across Africa Only about 25 per cent of the nearly one billion Africans have bank accounts, according to an Infosys report. This is due to geographical inaccessibility, lack of infrastructure, high cost of banking services and lack of financial understanding. However, mobile phone subscribers on the continent are expected to reach 735 million by the end of 2012, most of whom will continue to be unbanked and potential customers of mobile banking. With mobile phones becoming indispensible to many Africans in their daily lives, the device seems to be more cherished and handy than an ATM and this may likely not turn around any time soon or in the near future for the following five reasons: [h=3]1) Banks cards are mainly from banks[/h] If to own a debit or credit card you need to walk into a bank to open an account, most mobile phone users would prefer to settle with the simple banking services proposed by their different telecoms, which can be completed and ready for use within minutes and free of charge. [h=3]2) Delay in issuing of bank cards[/h] Most bank cards take weeks to be delivered to accountholders, some even months. Customers use to call their banks time without number to inquire for the arrival of their plastics, which is not the case with the outright mobile banking. [h=3]3) Convenience[/h] To use your card for withdrawals you need to find an ATM. It might be far away, the hour might be odd or the weather rainy. Worst, you might get there to find the machine without cash, faulty or no power. Or the other hand, you simply avoid these aches if you are running a mobile account, which will enable you do your transactions from anywhere at any time. [h=3]4) Versatility[/h] Most mobile money services in Africa cover a number of transactions from bills payment to airtime top up, transfer of funds and late night transactions, which bank cards have not been successfully doing. [h=3]5) Safety[/h] It is safer and more comfortable sitting in ones lounge and punching a mobile phone to conclude a transaction than heading for town in search of an ATM, some of which are situated in unsafe corners.