South African BaaS provider Ukheshe to acquire local fintech Oltio
Ukheshe, a Johannesburg-based banking-as-a-service (BaaS) provider for banks and telcos, has acquired Oltio. The smaller South African firm hosts QR code payments for merchants.
Oltio supports Masterpass, Mastercard’s QR code payment service in South Africa.
Ukheshe is already a Mastercard partner. It participated in the card issuer giant’s accelerator programmes Start Path and Fintech Express.
Under its new owner, Oltio’s Masterpass platform will continue to operate as normal.
Currently, more than 300,000 merchants and billers accept Masterpass.
QR code payments in South Africa
South Africa is one of a number of hotspots for QR code payments. Alongside Asia-Pacific and Latin America.
In a developing market like South Africa, mobile payments have boomed. This means reliance in smartphone has climbed, making QR code-based payments a popular option.
According to the Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA), South Africa’s annual digital transactions market will reach $8.1 billion by year end.
Francois Viviers, an exec at South African retail bank Capitec, explained the QR code surge to Tech Radar this month.
“More vendors [are] making it available and increasingly more people [are] using it when they experience how quick and easy it is to use.”
Perks of the deal
“Digital-first solutions for consumers remain a key priority,” says Clayton Hayward, Ukheshe’s CEO.
Hayward thinks this deal allows Ukheshe “to continue providing fintechs, telcos and banks with payment solutions”. He says these services help boost South Africa’s financial inclusion rates.
For Mastercard, the deal helps it to build momentum around its QR code solution in South Africa.
The card issuer giant is in the midst of establishing a foothold in a number of developing countries. It hopes to tap the local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“We look forward to combining our global network with Ukheshe’s local understanding of consumer and SME pain points,” says Suzanne Morel, Mastercard’s country manager for South Africa.
The transaction is anticipated to close by the end of the year.