Business Maverick


Digital advances set to drive financial inclusion in SA’s informal sector – Payfast report

Digital advances set to drive financial inclusion in SA’s informal sector – Payfast report

The Payfast State of Pay report 2023 shows that fintech solutions have the potential to make banking more accessible to more people than ever before.

An industry report from payment platform Payfast, featuring input from Capitec, Mukuru, Yebo Fresh and the Shopaholic, reveals that tech advances have put financial inclusion well within reach.

David Adams, chief commercial officer at Payfast, points out that the proliferation of digitised cash offerings, digital wallets, and accessible transactions through smartphones, feature phones or even WhatsApp, means there is no excuse for any lags in financial inclusion.

Some of the findings in the Payfast State of Pay Report 2023 include:

  • Capitec Pay has grown to account for 2% of all Payfast transaction volumes in just six months, since Capitec Pay’s launch in February this year.
  • Significant growth in credit and buy-now-pay-later payment methods – with a 96% increase in volume for Mobicred and a 67% increase for MoreTyme, compared with 2022.
  • The average basket size for these types of online credit also increased by 93% this year – coming in at around R1,778.
  • Forty-nine percent of merchants see open commerce as an opportunity to grow their businesses, while 56% believe it is too early to say what kind of impact it will have on their organisation.
  • Only 11% of merchants plan to introduce delivery to informal settlements and rural areas within the next year. This is disappointing given that the township economy is valued at R260-billion (as per the report). “This tells us that a major part of the drive towards financial inclusion is education around the size of the opportunity it affords those involved,” Adams says.

“There are 19 million underbanked individuals in the country, and over 1 million micro, small and medium-sized enterprises still transacting exclusively in cash. One of the key takeaways of this year’s report is that making online transactions accessible to this market segment is critical, not only for merchants who want to grow their business – but for the growth of the entire South African economy,” says Payfast MD Brendon Williamson.

Jessica Boonstra, chief executive and founder at Yebo Fresh, says her company has witnessed the rapid rise of the middle class in townships. 

“There’s a massive trend towards people wanting to shop closer to home, skipping the Saturday taxi trip to the mall. We believe every business in South Africa should have a township strategy,” she says. 

Locals are choosing to spend 40% to 50% of their budget in informal retail rather than travelling into the city.

Boonstra says some of the spaza shops handle as many as 1,000 transactions a day, albeit for small amounts, generating between R5,000 and R10,000 in revenue a month. DM


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