To increase the uptake of mobile POS (mPOS) among small and medium sized merchants, solution providers in South Africa are offering terminals at lower costs.
One of the latest being the introduction of the Edge mPOS solution in July 2014 by South Africa-based technology provider Emerge Mobile.
It costs US$92.1 (ZAR1,000), and comes with a free mobile app compatible with iOS and Android phones. Previously, Absa Bank launched its Payment Pebble mPOS solution in 2013, exclusively for SMEs.
Similarly, Nedbank launched the PocketPOS in the same year. The introduction of low-cost terminals is anticipated to encourage merchants to accept card-based payments, driving payment card transaction volumes and values.
Alternative payment instruments are gaining traction in South Africa, with banks and payment companies introducing new solutions. Recent include the launch of MasterPass, Zapper and FlickPay in July 2014, and SnapScan in May 2014.
The MasterPass digital wallet was introduced by MasterCard in association with Standard Bank. Master Pass users can shop online without disclosing payment and shipping information with every purchase. Zapper, FlickPay and SnapScan are mobile payment (m-payment) solutions which enable consumers to pay using QR codes and a PIN.
The initiatives are expected to advance the development of alternative payments in South Africa.
To support government’s financial inclusion plan to bring the unbanked population under the purview of formal banking, all major banks in South Africa including Absa Bank, Standard Bank, First National Bank (FNB) and Nedbank offer basic bank accounts with minimal banking charges. In addition to these leading banks, telecoms service provider MTN launched a mobile-only bank, Tyme, in November 2012, with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.
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