Visa’s ‘tap to phone’ makes its South African debut

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Following a year-long global pilot, US-based multinational financial services company Visa has announced the availability of “tap to phone”, its digital payment service, in the local market.

South Africa can now count itself among markets such as Belarus, Malaysia, Peru and Russia, to have Visa’s tap to phone. Upcoming launches are planned in Brazil, Italy, the UK and more.

According to Visa, tap to phone transforms current-generation Android smartphones or tablets into contactless, software-based point-of-sale terminals.

In addition, Visa says the digital payment service aims to help businesses quickly access the digital economy, prevent lost sales and improve cash flow by accepting contactless payments anywhere, anytime.

“The payments landscape has continued to evolve, as technology advances, to provide consumers with a variety of options. Card payments' progression started with the magnetic stripe cards, all the way to the virtual cards and tap-to-phone functionality available today,” says Aldo Laubscher, Visa country manager in SA.

The company believes tap to phone holds promise for the 180 million micro and small merchants (MSMs) around the world, where fewer than 10% of MSMs in many emerging markets currently accept digital payments.

“It was just five years ago when Visa set out to enable virtually any IOT or mobile device to make payments, and now today, we are enabling many of those same devices to accept payments in a very simple way with Visa tap to phone,” notes Mary Kay Bowman, global head of buyer and seller solutions for Visa.

“With billions of phones around the world, the opportunity that comes with lighting them up as payment acceptance devices is enormous. Visa tap to phone could be one of the most profound ways to reinvent the physical shopping experience.”

Visa notes that tapping to pay, or contactless payments, is growing rapidly in the COVID-19 era, with the company seeing tap to pay payments grow by 40% year-over-year.

"Tap to phone is a quick, easy and secure way to pay, which is perceptibly faster and more convenient than paying by cash. The experience is much swifter for consumers, especially as smartphones are quickly becoming commonplace. For merchants, tap to pay technology speeds up queuing times and reduces the burden of handling cash,” notes Laubscher.

Brian Richardson, CEO of WIZZIT Digital, comments: “There is an undoubted move globally away from cash, and digital payments have grown exponentially over the last year. To accommodate this and ensure everyone is included, the focus has to shift to the millions of SMME acquirers that are now included in this digital payment world without having to invest in any hardware, monthly maintenance fees and cost of paper rolls. With the added security of PIN for tap to phone, customers and banks are given added protection.”

Click here for the tap to phone video demonstration.

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