Globally competitive ‘payment cleared in seconds’ solution finally launches in SA

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BankservAfrica in collaboratopn with the reserve bank and the four major banks, has officially launched a real-time payment system - PayShap
BankservAfrica in collaboratopn with the reserve bank and the four major banks, has officially launched a real-time payment system - PayShap
Keamogetswe Matlala

Soon, no one will fret about making payments in time because they use a different bank or worry about the payment clearing in a few days with public holidays and weekends standing in the way. 

Standing in long queues on a summer’s day to deposit money at ATMs is also slowly becoming a thing of the past.

And as for settling your monthly payments and paying for your mini groceries at a spaza shop, they are now at the tip of our fingers.

This is the future of banking that BankservAfrica, together with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), envisaged when it started developing a platform that can allow you to do these things five years ago.

PayShap allows bank users to make and receive payments from anywhere, anyone and any bank within 10 seconds.

All one needs is a bank account with any of the four major banks in the country. BankservAfrica, together with SARB officially launched this platform on Monday, 13 March 2023.

With cellphone numbers replacing the admin of knowing one’s bank account number, representatives from Standard Bank, Nedbank, Absa and FNB have given the innovation a nod.

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In a panel discussion about moving towards a cashless future, Standard Bank’s head of payments, Rufaida Banoobhai says PayShap will minimise the risks of carrying cash and instill trust in digital banking.

“We believe that this societal change will help encourage an educated awareness around the risks of cash and slowly will enable our clients and other banks’ clients to understand the value and trust in digitized payments where the funds are available immediately, it’s no longer [the] friction of me having to remember someone’s bank account number, I can use a mobile number, it makes it easier.

“We fiercely compete but in payments, we knew we had to collaborate” in order to globally compete collectively with nations such as Mumbai, Singapore and China. While the first phase of the launch is focused on its pay-by-account and pay-by-proxy features, the second phase will allow users to request payments from whoever. There is a catch though.

These real-time payments can only be under the R3 000 limit, otherwise, they are as good as the old immediate payment options on mobile banking applications in terms of charges.

Answering a question on how the individual commercial banks will be benefitting from this platform given that they will see a decrease in direct payment revenue, Rufaida says instant access to money will inspire confidence in the country’s banking system. In turn, more deposits into accounts will be recorded, enlarging the pool of funds available within the banking industry.

For merchants and small businesses, money will always be available to stock up on supplies as the day progresses and sales are made.

The various banks will however still be charging different fees at their discretion for making these payments as there is no fixed pricing structure set out for all so even with this, competition is expected.

PayShap has been in the pipelines for five years now and it serves to contribute to SARB’s 2025 vision plan for safer, faster, more inclusive and cost-effective payment solutions.

Acknowledging the dangers of financial crime, BankservervAfrica’s head of real-time payments, Mpho Sadiki says the platform is “at the right level to manage any fraud that might be perpetrated in the system”.

“You can never truly eradicate all fraud because fraudsters will always think of their next loophole, but we have put in controls [to ensure secure interbank transactions],” he adds.

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Although the payment scheme is currently built around the markets within South African borders, “the vision is really there that we will start connecting all of these real-time payment schemes across various markets to create what we call corridors where you will be able to transfer funds [internationally, through cross-border networks].”

By the end of this year, more than five out of 10 transactions are expected to be facilitated through PayShap with more banks such as TymeBank, Capitec, Investec and Discovery bank on board. With time, the platform will also be accessible via Whatsapp. 

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