6 Mobile Money and Payment Tech

Thanks to South Africa’s impressive smartphone penetration rate (37% as of June 2016 – IDC), it’s no surprise that several mobile payment and digital wallet systems have attempted to gain their share of the local market.

There is a difference between the two: one is a phone-based payment system that’s linked to an existing bank account, while the other is a digital wallet for people without bank accounts, but who have phones.

Mobile payment systems have proven popular and grown considerably (Zapper, SnapScan, WeChat Wallet are all household names in 2017) while mobile money solutions have had a tougher time gaining a foothold. Some mobile money services have even disappeared into obscurity (Vodafone’s M-Pesa, Standard Bank’s mimoney) thanks to insufficient buy-in from consumers and vendors alike.

But despite a wobbly start, the idea is still very much around, and so more and more mobile payment and money options are appearing on the African continent. Just last year, mobile payment system MobiCash launched locally after enjoying considerable success in other parts of Africa, and informal and semi-formal vendors across the country are making use of phone-based services like iKhokha and ZipZap to receive credit card payments for goods.

As these services are working hard to make it easier and safer than ever to transact with phones, expect take-up of smartphone-based digital wallet and payment systems to continue into 2017.

And should businesses wish to add to that momentum, they’d do well to consider adding some form of mobile payment options to their goods and services, as that gives them access to a much wider audience than traditional payment systems allow.

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Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.