uKheshe Partners With Mastercard to Bring Mobile Payments to Unbanked South Africans

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

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, says that the partnership with Mastercard further enhances their offering, but most importantly, it assists in addressing the growing challenge of South Africa’s unbanked: “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.”

All the 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.

“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,” says Mark Elliott, division president, Mastercard Southern Africa.

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