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‘Milestone’: Reserve Bank and BankServAfrica launch new instant payment service – PayShap

‘Milestone’: Reserve Bank and BankServAfrica launch new instant payment service – PayShap

The South African Reserve Bank and BankServAfrica officially launched a new payment service called PayShap on Monday, in a bid to make banking more accessible and inclusive.

Contrary to some media reports last week, PayShap is not a standalone app and can be accessed only through existing banking apps. The four big banks – Nedbank, Standard Bank, First National Bank and Absa – will have the PayShap facility available on their apps.

“We anticipate that in the future, banks will innovate and opt to enable additional digital access channels,” says Mpho Sadiki, head of real-time payments at BankservAfrica.

Other banks expected to join the PayShap universe in the months ahead include Capitec, TymeBank, Discovery Bank, Investec, Sasfin and Standard Chartered.

The initial launch allows consumers to use the PayShap instant clearing feature to either pay a recipient using their bank account details or by proxy, using a unique identifier such as a cellphone number (ShapID).

Sadiki says the second leg will introduce an additional request-to-pay function which will make it possible for a person to initiate a request for payment and receive money securely and immediately in their bank account.

Amounts up to R3,000 can be transferred, with money clearing between banks within 60 seconds. However, the SA Reserve Bank clarified that PayShap will co-exist with the current banking system where larger amounts can be transferred between different banks for an “instant payment” fee, although money usually takes longer than 60 seconds to clear.

Ravi Shunmugam, chief executive of FNB’s EFT product house, says the bank is excited to provide customers with more real-time payment options. 

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“PayShap is the first of many customer solutions for real-time payments and the transformation of the payments infrastructure, aligning to our payments modernisation and digital platform strategy,” he says.

Jan Pilbauer, chief executive of BankservAfrica, says there is a global focus on real-time payments in an environment of instant gratification. 

“The days of waiting for a payment to clear and settle are disappearing,” said Pilbauer. “People want their experience to be instant – and we need to get used to this. The key to enabling this is interoperability.”

Pilbauer says automated clearing houses, including BankservAfrica, are evolving from processing interbank payments to catering for interoperability in the broader payments ecosystem that is currently operating within many closed-loop systems.

“We need to solve these and regional systems lacking the interoperability to speak to each other. BankservAfrica is setting out to do this through a Transactions Cleared on an Immediate Basis (TCIB) payments platform that can interconnect the different real-time domestic solutions.”

“This is an incredible milestone,” noted Rufaida Banoobhai, head of Payments SA at Standard Bank.

Sadiki says although the focus is currently on person-to-person payments, every South African, including small business owners, merchants and commercial businesses, stands to benefit from this service which becomes a viable alternative to cash – from reimbursing friends or family, to paying for items on community marketplaces, hair salons, paying for home maintenance services, car washes, restaurants and transportation. BM/DM

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