South Africa testing new payments system that uses cellphone numbers

South Africa’s new Rapid Payments Programme (RPP) platform has been built, and the banks and fintech companies have started testing.

The Rapid Payments Programme (RPP) is an initiative spearheaded by BankservAfrica and grounded in the South African Reserve Bank’s Vision 2025.

The RPP requires South African banks to build simpler and more cost-effective real-time payment functionality into their products.

The new payment platform will enable South Africans to make real-time payments using simple identifiers like mobile numbers or e-mail addresses.

Creating this new payment platform is a collaborative effort, including South African banks and financial technology companies.

BankservAfrica expects RPP to become the preferred e-payment option in South Africa soon after launch.

“It will deepen financial inclusion and contribute to building a safe, reliable, and efficient National Payments System,” it said.

BankservAfrica CEO Jan Pilbauer said a big step in launching the new RPP payments platform is that all players are now aligned.

“I am glad that everybody, including all the big banks, signed up and that everyone is working hard to make it happen,” he said.

“The platform has been built, and we are in the market acceptance testing phase. The channels are being built and everything is being tested,” he said.

He said widespread adoption would be driven by making it simple, affordable, and as close to a cash transaction as possible.

How it will work

BankservAfrica CEO Jan Pilbauer said the new system means customers will not need a bank account number or a branch code to transfer money.

Instead, they’ll be able to use a cellphone number — or any other piece of personally identifiable information – to make a payment to someone else.

The system will allow users to transfer money through instant messaging apps, including WhatsApp.

“When we go live later this year, if I want to send you money, you’ll just have to know my cellphone number or another alias,” he said.

“Within 10 seconds, the money will be in your store of value, and you will be able to use it right away,” he said.

Pilbauer expects companies, including fintech players, to use the new platform to create innovative new use cases.


This article was first published by Daily Investor and is republished with permission.

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South Africa testing new payments system that uses cellphone numbers