Stellenbosch start-up SnapScan, which won the South African app of the year award, allows independent retailers and big chains to accept in-store payments from customers using mobile phones in South Africa.
The SnapScan is a free smartphone app designed to help customers pay for goods and services simply with no cash.
Payment backed up by a card
When customers want to pay, they scan the store’s code into the SnapScan smartphone app. Then, they punch in their 4-digit pin number, press send, and the transaction is complete as the charge goes to the customer’s debit or credit card.
Barriers to adoption of payment apps in Africa
There are 720 million mobile phones in Africa, and people making payments from their smart phones is nothing new. Smartphone usage is expected to double in Africa in four years. The need is there as many people lack access to banks, so paying for goods and services using smartphone apps will increase, however one size does not fit all in Africa.
Africa is not one country
For starters, specific countries each have their own regulations on mobile money and payments in terms of who can operate such as banks v’s mobile operators. Other countries have no regulations at all. Also Smartphone penetration across Africa varies wildly from country to country so lots of hurdles for any new service to overcome to become the pan African payment app.
That said, given time we are certain mobile app payments will take off across all African countries and it is an industry which will create some big African winners. We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on mobile payments apps below.