With South African e-commerce seeing unprecedented advancement last year, the payment technology grew in leaps and bounds, according to Andrew Springate, CEO of tech and financial gateway service provider PAYM8
“South Africans resisted digital payments in the past because the existing system was so well-entrenched – familiarity, after all, breeds trust. But the pandemic meant more people stayed home and avoided physical retail spaces. Necessity prevailed and they embraced e-commerce, becoming more comfortable with digital payments and financial services.”
“The acceptance of digital transactions will be a permanent shift after the pandemic – it’s safer, contactless and more convenient. We’ve seen mainstream institutions and traditional banks accelerating their digital offering, and the race is on to push forward with innovation.”
While cash is still the preferred payment method for the majority of South Africans, digital payments are booming, said Springate.
“With the increase in online sales, we’re seeing greater uptake of mobile, QR and contactless payments as well as pre-authorised debit order payments (known as DebiCheck, where debit orders must be authorised by the debtor before processing). We’re inching our way towards a cashless economy – PwC’s Payments 2025 & Beyond report, published this year, says global cashless payment volumes are set to almost double from 2020 to 2025, and triple by 2030.”
“Though the pandemic accelerated the digital shift, other reasons will give it staying power in the local landscape. Digital’s contactless nature allows for faster payments and reduced queues – with zero pin exposure or cash-related security risk at checkout. QR code accuracy is also vastly improving.
“Lastly, but by no means least significant, the ability of messaging platforms like WhatsApp to offer in-app purchasing is making the buying process seamless, with customers no longer requiring a re-direct to a web site to complete a payment,” explained Springate.
Fintech companies are setting the trends in the race to the digital, cashless future. “Non-bank payment providers are often able to adapt faster to specific customer needs rather than trying to be everything to everyone as banks tend to do,” stated Springate.