An Introduction To: Airtime Credit Services (Acs)

January 17, 2024

In our latest series, ‘An introduction to’, we’re lifting the lid on the products that are powering access to credit across emerging markets. Today, Airtime Credit Services (ACS). 

Help your customers to keep the conversation going - even with low to no balance. Airtime Credit Services (ACS) provides easy and convenient access to telecommunications services at any time, from anywhere, at the touch of a button. So, how does it work? And what sets Ezra’s ACS solutions apart? Read on to learn more.

What is ACS?

Traditionally, when a mobile network customer ran out of credit they were then unable to make calls, send texts, or use data services until they had topped up their allowance. For lower-income individuals or those with no fixed income, this could mean significant periods without access to telecommunication services. In fact, it’s estimated that the average prepaid user in emerging markets will experience a day with no balance every week.

ACS allows the customers of a Mobile Network Operator to borrow airtime credit on their mobile phones when they run out of prepaid credit. The amount is then deducted from the user’s subsequent prepaid top-ups, within a specified period. They can then repay the outstanding balance at a later date.

For many individuals and SMEs, access to ACS can be an essential tool to keep businesses moving and making calls when they matter the most.

What types of businesses can integrate ACS?

ACS can be utilised by Mobile Network Operators.

What are the end benefits of ACS to the provider?

  • Drive customer retention: Customers are more likely to remain loyal to an operator that provides solutions for low-to-no balance scenarios. Implementing ACS can also increase the frequency of mobile service usage. 
  • Data collection: ACS transactions provide valuable data on user behaviour and preferences, which can be used for targeted marketing and the development of new products.
  • Increase average revenue per user (ARPU): ACS allows providers to generate additional revenue through the fees or interest charged on the borrowed airtime. This creates a new stream of income beyond traditional prepaid airtime sales.

What are the benefits of ACS to the end user?

  • Better customer experience: No more mid-call cut-offs - ACS can be pushed in real-time, with automatic service activation. Plus, you can help your customers to keep track of their balance with instant notifications.
  • Convenience: ACS eliminates the need for users to visit physical stores or ATMs to top up their prepaid balance, offering a more convenient way to access airtime credit. It is also available on a wide range of phones, which makes it accessible to a wider range of users.
  • Flexibility: Users can borrow varying amounts of airtime based on their needs, providing flexibility in managing their outgoings and expenses.

Why partner with Ezra?

  • Greater market penetration, for better reach: For many ACS users - particularly in financially underserved markets - access to credit services can be a challenge, due to a lack of formal credit history. However, because we leverage alternative data in our scoring, we can profile more people in more places and build out more accurate risk profiles. This means that you can quickly and securely grow your reach, without the risk.
  • Proprietary scoring, for better results: Our robust scoring engine harnesses the combined power of this alternative data and machine learning, to adapt to the shifting financial landscape and consumer behaviour. This helps to protect your customers, as well as your business. 
  • Low-risk, high-reward: At <3%, Ezra has one of the lowest bad debt rates in the industry.
  • Fully bespoke solutions, tailored to your business: Expand market penetration, boost acquisition, and increase liquidity, with straightforward solutions which can be adapted to your customers' needs. 
  • Simple customer journey, for a better user experience: Build customer trust with lending products designed to be simple and transparent. 
  • Streamlined delivery: Our straightforward design, development, and launch process means that our ACS products are ready to launch in as little as 12 weeks.

What does this look like in practice?

We have developed ACS solutions for some of the world’s leading Mobile Network Operators. Take a look at our work with Airtel Africa here

For millions of mobile network users, ACS can be a vital service. But for Mobile Network Operators, incorporating ACS doesn’t just deliver a competitive advantage in a crowded market - it can also be a key driver of growth, customer loyalty and, most importantly, financial inclusion for those that need access to credit services the most. 

A partnership with Ezra allows you to build fully bespoke, embedded lending products which seamlessly and securely meet the needs of your consumers - whenever and wherever they are. 

To learn more about our ACS solutions, visit our dedicated page. 

If you would like to speak to a member of our team about our range of lending products and solutions, contact us today. 

Speak to our partnership team