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South Africa: Mastercard and Hellopay to roll out SoftPOS

Mastercard and South African payments company, Hellopay, have partnered to roll out SoftPOS in the country.

Mastercard and Hellopay have partnered to roll out SoftPOS in South Africa. Hellopay is a South African payments facilitator and the financial services arm of the Hello Group. SoftPOS is a contactless acceptance solution that turns any NFC-enabled Android device into a physical point of sale.

There is an expectation that this move will boost digital payment acceptance at small informal enterprises in South Africa, while supporting consumers’ preference for touch-free payments amidst social distancing.

SoftPOS leverages Mastercard Tap on Phone, a simple and cost-effective digital payment technology developed for micro and small businesses like spaza shops, independent retailers, market stall traders, mobile servicemen and tradesmen who tend to operate in a cash economy due to the costs and complexity of obtaining traditional point of sale devices. Hellopay has a large merchant network comprising of Spaza Shops and other informal traders in South Africa and servicing millions of customers in rural areas and under-served settlements. The solution turns Android smartphones into secure payment acceptance devices for contactless cards, mobile wallets and even smartwatches — with no additional equipment or set-up costs.

A Spaza Owner. Image Source: Cape Business News

Businesses can download the free mobile app and offer it to their customers immediately, providing consumers with a checkout experience that is flexible, seamless, intuitive and secure. The solution is ideal for low-value transactions and enables merchants to provide a faster checkout in store, as well as accept payment on delivery - options that are increasingly important as consumers look to touch-free cash alternatives.

The demand for faster, more convenient, safe, and now cleaner ways to pay has driven the transition to contactless, and it’s a one-way street with touch-free experiences expected to be permanent for consumers and businesses even after the pandemic ends. In fact, a Mastercard study found that 75% of South African consumers are now using contactless payments, and 78% say they will continue to use contactless post-pandemic.

Reacting to the partnership, Amnah Ajmal Sharma, Executive Vice President, Market Development for Middle East and Africa, said: “The SMME market represents 98% of businesses in South Africa and has been deeply impacted by the pandemic. We recognise the overwhelming pressure that small business owners are currently facing and are committed to supporting them through COVID-19 and beyond by bringing our tools at a low cost and rapid time to market. Through our partnership with Hellopay, we can further support financial inclusion - especially among informal merchants -and help these businesses deliver new and best-in-class contactless consumer experiences using a device they already own: a smartphone."
Zunaid Miya, Managing Director, Financial Services Business at Hello Group, said: “Eliminating the need for a dedicated terminal and enabling the merchant to use their cellphone to accept card payments is revolutionary and a significant game changer within the SMME sector. Lowering the barrier to entry for merchants to accept card payments is sure to result in a significant increase in the number of transactions settled via card. We are pleased to join forces with Mastercard to enable businesses like spaza shops, independent retailers, market stall traders, mobile servicemen and tradesmen to accept safe, and secure contactless payments.”

Hellopay’s Tap on Phone solution is the result of a collaborative partnership between Nedbank, Mastercard and SmartPesa. The tap-on-phone functionality aligns with Mastercard’s commitment to delivering quicker and more accessible payments, without ever sacrificing security for convenience.

Hellopay will pilot the solution with 1,000 merchants over the next six months. Mastercard, which continues to be at the forefront in the design of security requirements for Tap on Phone, will manage the payments infrastructure to ensure the solution remains safe, secure, and seamless.


South Africa in Focus:

Population: 59.6 million (2019)

GDP: $369.85 billion (2019)

GDP Per Capita: $6,193 (2019)