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Nedbank partners Mastercard, Ukheshe for WhatsApp payments

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Chipo Mushwana, Nedbank’s executive for emerging payments.
Chipo Mushwana, Nedbank’s executive for emerging payments.

Nedbank, in collaboration with Mastercard and fintech firm Ukheshe, has launched Money Message, a payment platform that lets small and micro businesses receive in-chat payments from their customers via WhatsApp.

In a statement, the big-four bank says a first in SA, the solution will enable merchants to send an invoice requesting a payment from any customer through WhatsApp.

Their customers, in turn, can quickly settle a payment directly from the platform, it adds.

“The need for a diverse range of contactless payment methods is more important today than we could have possibly imagined, as we seek to rebuild the economy by giving businesses the ability to transact in a safe and secure way,” says Chipo Mushwana, Nedbank’s executive for emerging payments.

“In order to support entrepreneurship and sustainable business growth across all markets, we need to deliver low-cost, accessible and flexible solutions that leverage widely accessible technologies. Money Message looks to overcome a variety of cost, security and technical barriers by enabling micro merchants and their customers to transact with each other easily on an existing platform, which is WhatsApp.”

Nedbank explains that anyone with a valid South African identity document and South African bank account can access Money Message.

Merchants will need to first register for the service, which is completed within a matter of minutes, and afterwards, they can immediately initiate a payment request, it adds.

The bank points out that the business owner sends a request-to-pay message to the customer and for first-time users, a notification is sent via SMS, prompting them to register for the service.

“The customer simply puts in their name, surname and registers their card details to make the payment securely. This means that customers can make secure, cardless payments via their cellphone numbers or QR codes,” says the bank.

“While other institutions have released banking functionality that works through WhatsApp, Money Message is unique in that it has been specifically developed to process payments for merchants and small businesses. Rather than a banking plug-in, it is an innovative payment system that meets the unique needs of South African entrepreneurs.”

Mike Smits, co-founder of Ukheshe, says chat commerce is seeing exponential growth across the globe. “We are excited to partner with Nedbank and take the lead in South Africa with its new Money Message product, and look forward to helping our customers remain innovative through the use of market-leading transactional platforms.”

“Every business owner is looking for ways to increase sales and reach new customers using different channels. By enabling smaller businesses to request digital payment through WhatsApp, smaller businesses can achieve these goals and create greater customer loyalty with little to no investment beyond the phone they already have,” says Suzanne Morel, country manager of Mastercard SA.

According to Nedbank, a beta version of Money Message has been available to a small selection of micro merchants for just over a month and will gradually reach the broader market during the rest of the year.

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