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Brave new world of contactless payments

CONTACTLESS cards allow users to tap against a reader to pay for goods and services without the card leaving their hands. Freepik

CONTACTLESS cards allow users to tap against a reader to pay for goods and services without the card leaving their hands. Freepik

Published Nov 18, 2019


Tech-savvy South Africans have a growing appetite for the convenience and safety of contactless payments, using their smartphones.

Raj Makanjee, the chief executive for FNB Retail, said FNB customers made more than R14 billion “tap”, or contactless, payments in the 12 months to June, with continued month-on-month growth.

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Makanjee said this upward trend points to growing appetite for the convenience of contactless payments by consumers and businesses.

He said the bank's customers processed more than 60 million “tap” transactions over the 12 months to June using their contactless enabled FNB credit and debit cards, amounting to more than 46 million transactions for debit cards, while credit cards accounted for nearly 20 million.

“All our customers have contactless enabled cards, and this contributes significantly to our efforts to empower customers with convenient and safer ways to pay. Our goal is to minimise reliance on cash by ensuring that customers have access to payment options that accommodate their day-to-day needs,” he said.

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Makanjee said contactless cards allow users to tap against a reader to pay for goods and services without the card leaving their hand.

“This technology protects our customers against card related-fraud, such as card skimming, as they no longer have to insert their card into the point of sale device,” said Makanjee.

Nedbank launched its Money App in 2017 and a matching online banking channel in the second half of last year to provide its customers with two channels built on the latest tech and security standards.

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Since the beginning of this year, an average of more than 104000 personal and business users have logged debit order disputes through the Nedbank Money App every month, while more than 96000 users use the app to change their ATM limits every month, and about 19000 cardholders use it to freeze and unfreeze their cards every month.

Vodacom, in collaboration with Mastercard, recently launched the VodaPay Masterpass, which enables Vodacom customers to load any bank card into a secure digital wallet downloaded as an app on their smartphone.

Once loaded, these cards and the secure credentials associated with them are safely stored, enabling customers to start transacting immediately without the hassle of entering these details each time they make a purchase.

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Vodacom customers can buy prepaid data, airtime, SMS or voice bundles directly through the app, and can select the “pay bills” menu option to settle their DStv account, pay a utility bill or a traffic fine.

Mariam Cassim, the chief officer at Vodacom Financial Services, said that apart from the development of digital payment solutions, the broader Vodacom Financial Services strategy was focused on the delivery of solutions across insurance, lending, savings and investments.

“As digital wallets gain popularity, we realise the need to offer our customers solutions that will enable them to adapt to the future of commerce. With so many of our customers now using smartphones, it makes sense to make it easier for them to pay for airtime and data, and conduct a wide range of payments at their favourite merchants, all from a single app. We’ll be adding even more features to the platform in the coming months,” said Cassim.


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