Business Maverick


Western Cape gains a R25m Europay, Mastercard and Visa bank card personalisation facility

Western Cape gains a R25m Europay, Mastercard and Visa bank card personalisation facility

The cost of bank cards could possibly fall dramatically in the next few years as banks leverage off a new wholly South African-owned R25-million EMV card personalisation facility outside Cape Town.

The card factory, owned by Crossgate Technologies, is situated 35km outside Cape Town and has the capacity to produce 1 million bank cards a month. 

A 250m² vault within the facility can hold up to 26 million bank cards and the machinery has been imported from Italy and Germany. 

EMV stands for “Europay, Mastercard and Visa”, and these cards typically include an embedded microchip and associated technology to enable secure payment at compatible point-of-sale terminals.

Crossgate Technologies, the investors behind the facility, have already supplied more than 300 million cards to the retail and banking sectors internationally. 

Now, it will leverage its localised facility to expand into the rest of Africa to advance digital payments across the continent and other emerging markets. 

To date, Crossgate has supplied blue-chip clients such as First National Bank, Standard Bank and Old Mutual with more than 30 million cards and has enabled in excess of R49-billion worth of transactions. 

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With clients in two African countries, Crossgate is planning to expand its Pan-African footprint. Crossgate is a subsidiary of Crossfin Technology Holdings, which aims to be the continent’s leading independent fintech group within the next five years. 

Crossfin Technology Holdings was acquired by a consortium including African Rainbow Capital and Ethos Mid-Market Fund for R1.5-billion.  

Despite South African consumers increasingly exploring digital payment methods such as cryptocurrency, digital cards and biometric payments, traditional bank cards remain king, according to the Mastercard New Payments Index 2022. Reasons include security (79%), ease of use (51%) and the rewards offered (44%). 

“Crossgate was approached by various banks to provide an alternative local solution for in-country card personalisation and processing as well as last mile distribution,” says David de Coning, the company’s chief executive. 

The proximity of the Johannesburg-based, foreign-owned multinationals equals a supply chain concentration risk. 

“Without a backup option at least 1,000km away, should an event unsettle the city, the entire banking card issuing industry could be brought to a standstill.”

Crossgate’s core business is to provide banks with secure end-to-end EMV card supply capabilities, including track-and-trace as well as visibility down to individual card level, combined with end-to-end distribution.

De Coning says Crossgate’s technology allows for consumers of First National Bank and Standard Bank to change how consumers obtain, replace and activate bank cards by enabling them to do so at 3,000 mainstream retail outlets. This, in turn, increases the distribution channels available to banks. 

“Moreover, we have a partner network of 250 independent stores in rural areas that will give customers the ability to open bank accounts. 

“We are aiming to work with a further 2,000 community stores and individual agents to assist in advancing financial inclusion in under-serviced markets,” he says.

Looking ahead, the company will be providing cards to wearable and mobile devices on behalf of banks and fintech issuers. 

“The future of banking will look very different than it does today. Challenged with ever-evolving customer expectations, emerging technologies and novel business models, banks will need to continue offering access to forward-thinking products to ensure that they aren’t left behind by the changing landscape being driven by fintechs,” concludes De Coning. BM/DM


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