Is South Africa Taking Strides in the Payment Space?

The payment industry has, over the last few years, evolved radically both in South Africa and globally. Constant payment options have popped up over the years and brands have clamored to adopt them to please customers. 

Of late, digital payment options have popped up and customers are keen to make use of the seamless, efficient and swift options that they offer. But, is there still some uncertainty among customers around contactless payments? Are the brands keeping up with the continuously evolving appetite for the payments? And, will they be able to manage new options in future? 

We took a look at the current digital payment landscape to ascertain what customers were being drawn to, what they want out of the payment options and whether companies were providing them with what they want. 

Let’s take a look. 

Customers Are Quickly Adapting to the Payment Landscape

Emerging payments are all the talk currently in the digital world, and for a good reason. A whopping 95% of all customers have made use of one of the emerging digital payment options available to them in the last year to make an online purchase. 

Customers have been quick off the mark to start snapping up ways to pay for their online goods, and have relished the variety of options available to them from retailers and e-tailers. 

Contactless, cryptocurrency, biometrics, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), open banking and account-to-account payments are flourishing, and expected to simply accelerate over the next few years, offering customers a variety of safe, secure and effortless ways to pay for their goods. 

More and more customers are now relying on digital channels to pay their bills due to the convenience and heightened financial management. These platforms allow them to budget and effectively manage their money. 51% say they are using digital tools in order to set up recurring payments to reduce errors of payments. 

Customers are Still Hesitant about Security, But Trusting of Brands

While security is still top of mind for all customers, ease of use (51%) came in a close second and rewards (41%) were also coveted factors for the payment space. Granted, traditional payment options like swiping or inserting are still considered more secure, but most customers are relishing the options that are being made available to them.

However, customers have become more trusting of the latest tech in digital payments. They have started to recognize the convenience and security that Biometrics can offer. 

More than 75% agree that it is easier to make payments using biometrics than the more traditional methods like a card. What is encouraging to brands is that the heightened security is also evident to customers. Roughly three-quarters acknowledge that biometric technologies for identity and payments are more secure than a PIN, password, or other form of identification. They also agree that it is more secure than two factor authentication via text or email.

It Is Up to Brands to Keep Up 

But the question stands, are e-commerce stores in South Africa ready to provide the array of options to their customers to keep them happy?  

In many cases, especially for start-up companies, having multiple payment options is highly resource intensive.  Payment gateways can be costly, security needs to be at the top of the priority list and each option needs to be completely seamless for customers. With all of this to consider for one payment option, having multiple simply means more work and most expense for each company. 

So, many ask whether it is worth it having multiple options and if the ROI justifies the spend and resources on payments. 

But these challenges can be overcome. Brands all across the country and world are side stepping the hurdles thrown by multiple payment options and providing their customers with the various options they are demanding. 

The Bottom Line 

As the payment landscape evolves and changes, so does the customer’s appetite for new and efficient ways to pay for their products. It is up to brands globally to provide them with the right options and manage the processes and operations from the backend. Although challenging, it is not impossible as the gateways make it easier and easier to manage it from behind the scenes.