Vodacom super app VodaPay goes live

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 12 Oct 2021
Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub.
Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub.

Vodacom’s VodaPay Super App has officially gone live and is available to customers on any mobile network.

Developed by Vodacom’s fintech arm, Vodacom Financial and Digital Services, the new app provides an ecosystem of third-party services that allow consumers to do everything from peer-to-peer payments, to sending money and ordering takeaways, or making grocery purchases.

Vodacom first announced the app in June, when it invited developers and businesses to join its ecosystem by building their own “Mini Programs” on the mobile platform.

It is backed by Chinese-owned online payment platform Alipay, which powers over 1.2 billion users and almost 100 million merchant partners, using technologies such as artificial intelligence.

A super app, also described as a digital mall, is a mobile application that provides umbrella services – a trend which has gained momentum in the past year, accelerated by more people taking to online channels as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement, VodaPay launches with "significant partners", including retail giant Massmart, which recently launched new mobile apps for its subsidiaries Makro and Builders Warehouse on the super app.

Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom Group, comments: “I am pleased that we are unveiling VodaPay to consumers. It is a massive achievement for the Vodacom Group, as it brings us closer to achieving our vision of moving from a telco to a tech-co.

“As a group, our purpose is to connect everyone for a better future, and ensure digital inclusion for customers, giving them access to smartphones and broadband connectivity across our markets. With VodaPay, we have introduced an innovative platform that is simple, accessible, cost-effective, and suitable for the banked and unbanked market that operates outside the formal banking sector.”

The VodaPay Super App is available for download from the Apple and Android app stores.

The telco says the mobile platform is aimed at driving digital and financial inclusion in SA and the rest of the continent by enabling a variety of financial services; for example, securely allowing consumers to load money into their wallets and send it to anyone in real-time.

Users can also use the app to make any purchase within its ecosystem, ranging from e-commerce to buying airtime, electricity, water, insurance and many other use cases.

Third-party partners listed on the app also benefit through access to millions of Vodacom subscribers in SA, who will be able to access the app data-free. Data charges will apply for customers of other network providers.

Mariam Cassim, chief officer of Vodacom Financial and Digital Services.
Mariam Cassim, chief officer of Vodacom Financial and Digital Services.

“What we have delivered in VodaPay is a first-of-its-kind super app underpinned by world-class technology that will help us to make digital and financial inclusion a reality. We took no shortcuts in the development of our super app,” says Mariam Cassim, chief officer of Vodacom Financial and Digital Services.

“We worked with the best fintech and payments infrastructure partner in the world, Alipay and the best developers, product experts, designers, and e-commerce professionals in South Africa. Working during lockdown had its challenges but I am super-excited that we have created a game-changing platform in the fintech space, which will generate new revenue streams for the Vodacom Group.”

The VodaPay super app will continue to evolve as the telco integrates new features and on-boards new SME partners into the ecosystem, according to Vodacom.