Digital adoption and mobile phone penetration in South Africa have rapidly increased over the last couple of years. However, traditional banks have struggled to reach customers at the lower end of the market, while non-traditional banking solutions from beyond the banking sector have been growing their customer bases. High bank charges and the inability to interpret complex traditional banking products are some of the main drivers of the “unbanked market”.

“Greater financial access is essential for consumers in the South African landscape, where most consumers rely on cash for their transactions,” explains Andrew Hardie, Chief Executive Officer at Pay@ – a leading payment aggregator and provider of secure payment solutions. 

“86% of in-person transactions takes place at retailers, and this is clearly evident in the bill payments industry and across our extensive network of retailers in South Africa.” For this reason, Pay@ has been a partner with Shoprite since 2008 to give the unbanked access to more financial products in the financial services sector.

“There is a trend among banked customers in the lower end of the market to withdraw cash as soon as it’s deposited into their bank accounts due to the fear of debit order strikes and related bank charges,” explains Johan De Wet, Brand and Marketing Manager: Financial Services at The Shoprite Group of Companies. Therefore, an opportunity exists to offer customers a banking solution that enables them to have better control over their finances.

As SA’s leading bill payment aggregator, Pay@ has been at the forefront of navigating this unchartered territory within its bill payments network. Through its collaboration with Shoprite, consumers can complete their day-to-day bill payments at the retailer’s Money Market pay points. 

With Pay@’s partnership with Shoprite, consumers can continue to keep their money safe with the brand that they’ve trusted for 50 years. 

Advances in technology are causing the banking industry to develop faster with the focus on efficiency, transparency and better customer experience. However, the unbanked market in SA needs access to data to access these digital banking solutions. Shoprite has identified the need to offer customers a low-cost digital banking solution that allows them to do basic financial transactions via the device in the palm of their hand.

The Shoprite Group, in partnership with Grindrod Bank, has developed the Money Market Account, a digital transactional banking product that will allow customers to both transact and save in a safe and secure way.

“The development and rollout of the account have been driven entirely by customer needs. They wanted a straightforward account which allows them to be in full control of their money,” says De Wet. 

Although cash remains king in SA’s unbanked market, the digitisation of bill payments continues to introduce a shift in consumers’ buying and payment behaviour across the LSM spectrum.

By Andrew Hardie, Chief Executive Officer at Pay@

About Pay@: Established in 2007, Pay@ is one of Southern Africa’s leading payment aggregators and is trusted by prominent South African organisations to optimise their billing and payment processes. Pay@ offers consumers a growing variety of secure, innovative and convenient bill presentment and payment platforms. Its robust system ensures highly efficient processing, with unallocated payments for example being eliminated and transaction success rates of more than 99.996%. 

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