Nicolette Dirk, finance writer, Justmoney.co.za
If you are sick of using cash or cards to pay for something because they can get easily lost, stolen or cloned by fraudsters, then you will be happy to know that the way in which we purchase goods will change.
South Africa may soon be able to use a cashless payment system that would replace cash and even card payments.
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology has created contactless mobile payments and services and they are already being used in countries like Australia, Germany and the UK.
Gemalto enables mobile network operators, banks, transport networks, retailers and many other service providers to deliver end-to-end NFC experiences to their customers all over the world.
The company has now developed a sticker to turn any cellphone into an NFC-enabled device in their bid to replace cash-based payments.
Benjamin Binet, vice president of Gemalto Southern Africa told Fin24 that when using an NFC smartphone, the NFC payment function can be protected by a personal PIN.
“Should the handset be lost or stolen, the NFC payment issuer or the mobile operator, via its Trusted Services Manager platform (TSM), can immediately lock or even delete the contactless payment application from the handset remotely,” said Binet.
He added that the NFC stickers, once stuck on the handset, can turn any mobile phone into an NFC phone.
Transport ticketing, mobile payments and mobile retail are among the cashless transactions people can now utilise via their mobile phones.
With mobile retail, for example, users can use their NFC-enabled smartphone to make contactless payments. According to Gemalto the contactless payment card provides increased security and interactivity.
Merchant infrastructure in South Africa
The idea to use mobile phones as payment gateways is not new and there are already similar systems being used in South Africa.
Last month Standard Bank launched a mobile payment app, SnapScan that allows small businesses to receive payments from customers through their smartphones, using a combination of a QR code and a secure PIN number.
Vuyo Mpako, Standard Bank’s head of innovation and channel design said that the challenge that many small enterprises face is the cost of setting up a point of sale (POS) machine combined with interrupted or unreliable connectivity.
“SnapScan enables small business owners who wouldn’t normally qualify as merchants, to become fully-fledged merchants,” said Mpako.
Once the unique QR code has been scanned, purchases are made with a user-selected PIN and the business owner will receive a SMS notification from Standard Bank confirming the transaction. Merchants don’t need any high-tech devices or connectivity - all payment confirmations are delivered using the standard SMS service.