Solving the problem of accepting card payments at retail outlets has long been the domain of South African banks; the trouble, however, is that the process of acquiring a point-of-sale (POS) system is expensive and drawn out.

A startup that launched in October, Yoco, hopes to solve this problem with its POS software and hardware that it claims will allow SME owners to accept card purchases in as little as four days.

To qualify, business owners need to meet the following requirements:

  • South African Citizen with a valid ID Number
  • A valid bank account through which you are able to receive payments
  • FICA Approval
  • An Android or iOS compatible smartphone or tablet

To accept card payments, merchants can use either a Bluetooth reader for iOS and Android devices, or a reader that plugs in to a headphone jack of iOS-only smartphones or tablets.

“The traditional card machine fees are prohibitive for smaller businesses and the institutions place a lot of weight on trading history and steady transaction revenues to assess risk. Many of these businesses have to wait weeks to get a card terminal from a traditional institution,” said Bradley Wattrus, financial director at Yoco, speaking to htxt.africa.

“Any business can sign up for Yoco online and they can be up and running within four working days. You don’t need a sales history to qualify and 90 per cent of applicants meet the criteria to qualify,” he added.

Other features of the Yoco service include being able to access transactional data from anywhere thanks to a cloud-based storage solution, and being able to use Yoco to track any sales even if they aren’t made via a card payment.

This solution should go a long way to solving the problem many merchants have which finds them unable to accept card payments. While apps such as Snapscan grow ever more popular, it’s nice to see that some startups remember that plastic still has its place in the economy.

[Image – Yoco]