South African Bank Eyes Bigger Role in M-Payments with Firepay Acquisition
South Africa’s Standard Bank has acquired a majority stake in Firepay, the maker of mobile payments service SnapScan, which is used to make in-store and online payments at more than 32,000 merchants across South Africa. The two companies worked together to launch QR code-based SnapScan in 2014. The service will continue to be compatible with merchant and consumer accounts from all South African banks, even with Standard holding a majority stake in Firepay, and the team from Firepay will remain on board, Standard Bank said. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Along with SnapScan, Firepay has its hand in several other major payment services, providing acceptance technology for WeChat and Mastercard’s Masterpass, among other clients. Acquiring a majority of the company could be an indication that South African banks are looking to carve out a presence on the front lines of the country’s mobile payments market. Thus far, Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay have yet to arrive in South Africa, due at least partially to the countries major banks having yet to give permission for the cards they issue to be loaded onto those wallets. In the absence of major providers, several smaller players have carved out niches, including QR-based services Zapper and Flickpay.