Standard Bank champions mass rollout of contactless cards across Africa

DSC 7946editedStandard Bank Group, one of Africa’s largest financial services organisations, is championing efforts to increase contactless payment across Africa as consumers look for safer ways to pay in the wake of Covid-19

Cash still accounts for most payments in many of the African countries. Yet, as well as being inefficient to process and expensive to sustain, cash is inherently insecure, and its use fuels the shadow economy. The displacement of cash is therefore a strategic objective for many governments, banks, payment providers and, increasingly, merchants. Contactless represents a viable cash displacement tool.

Prior to the pandemic, contactless payments were already emerging and growing within African regions, however Covid-19 has encouraged consumers to further embrace the technology.

"The pandemic has created heightened concern among consumers on cash usage with many increasingly recognising contactless as a safer, cleaner, and faster way to pay, especially as they seek out ways to quickly get in and out of stores without touching terminals or handing over their card,” said Israel Skosana, head of card issuing at Pan Africa, Standard Bank.

The benefits of contactless technology extend well beyond health and safety. The use of contactless opens the door to payments in many other forms such as smartphones and wearables. The same underlying technology is used to process transactions, and the potential for mobile and wearable-enabled payments is significant.

"The introduction of this payment method will improve customer convenience, with shorter transaction times and eliminates the need to withdraw or handle cash. Security is also enhanced as a customer keeps their card with them rather than handing it to someone else,” explained Skosana.

“We are supporting the shift away from cash in our African markets to limit crime rates, improve convenience and safety for customers and bring more people into the formal financial system to stimulate the continent’s growth and development,” Skosana concluded.

Standard Bank is currently enabling the contactless payment capability for customers across 15 markets on the continent including Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Eswatini, Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

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