Standard Bank announced the official launch of mobile payment app, SnapScan, in a press release issued on Wednesday, 21 May 2014.
This is the bank’s first mobile payments offering that allows consumers to pay for their purchases with their smartphones through a combination of a QR code and a PIN.
The system has been in operation since June 2013, with apps currently available for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry 7 (and older) devices.
Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 devices are not yet supported.
To pay with the app, users have to download it from the relevant app store for their device, register for an account, and link their Visa or MasterCard credit card.
SnapScan lets you link your credit card by snapping a photo of it or manually typing in the details.
Once registered, you can use the app to scan the Quick Response (QR) code of a merchant, after which you are prompted the amount you wish to pay. You then enter your PIN to authorise the transaction.
Unlike conventional credit card point-of-sale machines, Standard Bank said SnapScan lets both informal and formal businesses register for its services.
Informal businesses can withdraw their earnings by requesting a voucher that can be redeemed at any Spar outlet or Standard Bank ATM. No Standard Bank account is needed to do so, Standard Bank said.
Formal businesses may nominate a business banking account to which sales are directly credited.
One niggle with the service is that the merchant’s proof of payment is sent via SMS to a designated cellphone number.
If for whatever reason that cellphone is not currently near the point of sale, it is not possible for the merchant to verify a payment.
This makes it difficult for larger businesses with multiple points of sale to adopt SnapScan.
It could also throw a wrench in the works if a small business is trading in two different locations on a particular day for whatever reason (such as its normal store-front and an informal market or convention, for example).
According to Standard Bank, about 10,000 merchants across South Africa currently support SnapScan, including Motherland in Johannesburg and The House of Machines in Cape Town.