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uKheshe, Mastercard target potential 11 million customer base in SA

uKheshe, Mastercard target potential 11 million customer base in SA

uKheshe, a locally developed financial inclusion platform, has further enhanced its offering to the unbanked by collaborating with Mastercard to enable informal traders, street vendors and casual labourers to accept digital payments through Masterpass, Mastercard's digital payment service.

The companies want to combine their expertise and reach to boost financial inclusion, "targeting the more than 11 million South Africans who are un/underbanked and remain stuck in a cash economy."

According to information supplied, backed by banking payments partner Nedbank, uKheshe enables people without bank accounts or smartphones to get paid in real-time through an uKheshe card, which features a Quick Response (QR) code linked to their cell phone number. To receive payments, their customers simply scan the QR code with any Masterpass-enabled app – including SnapScan and Zapper - and money is immediately transferred to their ewallets.

Clayton Hayward, co-founder of uKheshe, said,"We designed uKheshe to provide the safest and most affordable way for these informal merchants and workers to accept digital payments from South Africans who are increasingly embracing cashless payments. The collaboration between our brands will continue to make a significant difference to micro-enterprises, enabling them to boost their incomes by reaching new customers."

The companies attest that all major banks in South Africa offer Masterpass, which enables customers to load any bank card into a secure digital wallet on their smartphone.

"Once loaded, these cards and the secure credentials associated with them are safely stored, enabling the customer to start transacting immediately without the hassle of entering these details each time they make a purchase. For small business owners and traders, Masterpass provides a more affordable alternative to traditional Point of Sale devices, allowing them to offer a convenient digital payment option to their customers – the majority of whom are banked and are ready to use mobile payments," reads an excerpt from the statement.

Mark Elliott, division president, Mastercard Southern Africa, added: "We've all been there where you'd like to tip your car guard or buy a newspaper from a street vendor, but you don't have coins or any cash to do so. Through our partnership with uKheshe, we are making it easy for Masterpass users to pay anyone, from anywhere in a matter of seconds with the device in their pockets - the mobile phone. For the informal merchants and traders, we are able helping to connect them to the formal economy and build better futures."

In October 2019 Airtel Africa and Mastercard announced a partnership to offer over 100 million Airtel Africa mobile phone users across 14 African countries access to Mastercard's global network.

More recently, in November 2019, FinTech firm Zazu Africa Limited (Zazu) has partnered with Mastercard to issue prepaid cards linked to the Zazu app.

According to a statement released by Zazu, the mobile wallet allows customers (even those without a bank account) to send, receive and pay money digitally – but currently users can only make payments at select Zazu merchants in Zambia.

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