MasterCard and Blue Label Telecoms, Ltd., announced on Tuesday that they will partner to provide 22,000 small traders and rural merchants in South Africa with point-of-sale devices to allow them to accept credit card payments for the first time.
“While the number of South Africans with access to formal banking products has increased significantly in the last year, the number of card acceptance locations – especially in rural and peri-urban areas – has not grown in tandem,” Philip Panaino, the division president for MasterCard’s South Africa division, said.
Blue Label currently provides POS terminals throughout South Africa, which are predominantly used to sell prepaid vouchers like airtime and electricity.
“Over and above the estimated 100,000 [home-based] shops spread across South Africa, there are tens of thousands of small- and medium-sized retailers and service providers,” Blue Label Joint CEO Mark Levy said. “Through our partnership with MasterCard, we will introduce many of these businesses to the safety, security, and convenience of electronic payments, enabling financial inclusion in communities where consumers have largely been unable to use formal payment products.”
Blue Label plans to introduce solutions to increase the number of MasterCard acceptance locations in the country, as well as introduce 15,000 new EMV-certified POS terminals, which will allow traders to accept chip and PIN and contactless payment cards.
Additionally, Blue Label plans to upgrade approximately 7,000 of its existing terminals used in smaller stores using MasterCard Mobile software, which will allow MasterCard cardholders to use PIN-based debit, check or credit cards issued by Standard Bank, Absa, Nedbank and the South African Social Security Agency.
“Our collaboration with Blue Label is another step by MasterCard towards realizing our vision of a world beyond cash by bringing new and innovative electronic payment solutions to a generation of customers who are mostly banked, but are currently underserved,” Panaino said. “Through the introduction of these solutions that respond directly to the needs of merchants, MasterCard and Blue Label aim to increase the level of penetration of electronic payments in South Africa, and help stimulate economic growth.”