MasterCard, Blue Label Telecoms Tackle Card Acceptance in Rural South Africa (Sept. 3, 2013)
Blue Label Telecoms today announced a partnership with MasterCard that will expand electronic payment terminals to 22,000 small traders and rural shops in South Africa. Blue Label currently provides thousands of POS terminals in South Africa, which are used predominantly to sell prepaid vouchers, such as airtime and electricity.
The company plans to increase the number of MasterCard acceptance locations in South African townships and informal settlements by rolling out more than 15,000 new EMV-certified, contactless-ready POS terminals and upgrading approximately 7,000 of its existing terminals used in smaller home-based grocery stores, known as spaza stores, with MasterCard Mobile software. The MasterCard Mobile payment platform will enable MasterCard cardholders to use their PIN-based debit, check or credit card issued by Standard Bank, Absa, Nedbank and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and their mobile phones to pay for their purchases in-store at select BLU Approved merchants.
“While the number of South Africans with access to formal banking products has increased significantly in the last year, the number of card acceptance locations—especially in rural and peri-urban areas—has not grown in tandem,” said Philip Panaino, division president, MasterCard, South Africa. “Through the introduction of these solutions that respond directly to the needs of merchants, MasterCard and Blue Label aim to increase the level of penetration of electronic payments in South Africa, and help stimulate economic growth,” he added.
Between March 2012 and July 2012, the Paybefore Award-winning SASSA Debit MasterCard card, which the government uses to disburse social grant funds, was cited as the main contributing factor to the 4 percent growth in the country’s banked population from 63 percent in 2011, to 67 percent in 2012, according to the FinScope South Africa 2012 survey. Thus far, 10 million SASSA MasterCard cards have been issued to grant recipients.