By Barry Williams, Sales & Marketing Head and Clinton Leask, Business Development Lead at Pay@
In 2017, only 35 percent of the African population had access to banking services and this figure was projected to increase to 48 percent in 2022. The South African National Payments System (NPS) is regarded as world-class, as the banked population rose from 77 percent in 2017 to 80 percent in 2018. However, regardless of the strides that the NPS has contributed to the South African payments industry, a significant number of people remain unserved.
There is a demand from South African consumers for a diverse offering of convenient and secure payment methods. In addition to the convenience that comes with tailored payment solutions, the provision of diverse payment solutions plays a pivotal role in creating inclusion in the payments sector. The National Development Plan Vision 2030 of South Africa acknowledges financial inclusion as an essential tool to eliminate poverty, inequality, and unemployment. When businesses grow, their aim is to attract more customers, however, they also aim to retain the customers that they already have in their market. Hence the need to offer new and innovative payment options, both digital and physical, to serve the underbanked and unbanked market in South Africa. Even though customers are familiar with the existing payment methods, they want to see change and development in their payment options over time. Therefore, by offering more payment options, businesses have the opportunity to attract more customers across new markets.
Developments in technology has encouraged the payments industry to develop faster with the focus on efficiency, transparency and a better customer experience. However, the underbanked and unbanked market in South Africa remains a market which requires unique and trusted payment solutions. By opening up themselves to exploring payment solutions that are tailored for their customers, businesses also contribute to their revenue generation through the opportunity to access new markets.
For this reason, Pay@ is at the forefront of navigating this unchartered territory within its payments network. Pay@ contributes to the provision of secure, convenient and tailored payment solutions by partnering with businesses to bridge the gap for the unserved community. The underbanked and unbanked market significantly contributes to South Africa’s economic growth, however, financial freedom for this market is often hindered by the lack of access to tailored and inclusive payment solutions. South Africa’s unemployment rate climbed to 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021, up from 34.9% in the previous period. 6 This meant that people had to look into alternative means of making a living, such as turning to the informal sector. As we move toward an inclusive economy in efforts to move our country to a more diverse and equal country, we have to avail payment options for those communities that are not served.
Organisations within the payments sector should offer solutions that allow consumers to pay all their bills in one easy and secure method, allowing them the freedom to go about their daily business. Cash remains king but digital payments is a rapidly growing channel. Hence, bill issuers need to make available payment options via retailers, banks, telcos, and fintechs. As new developments come to the market so too should bill issuers expand their portfolio of offerings. An example being Pay@ is also venturing into open banking payment solutions such as the Capitec pay method, which filters out the effort of consumers taking time off and travelling to make payments.
Along with partners, Pay@ continues to adopt innovative payment technologies and tailor payment solutions to create financial inclusion for our consumers.