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Local entrepreneur wants to convert airtime into cash

Read time 2min 20sec

Local entrepreneur Sipho Phaloane wants to convert airtime into cash with a product called Aircurrency.

For the product to take off, Phaloane says he needs the buy-in of SA’s mobile operators.

On any given day, he explains, millions of people use their mobile phones to shop for and purchase goods and services.

He notes that currently, most of these transactions must be completed using an app and a smartphone, and be routed through a banking system.

“The adoption of this simple system would basically mean your airtime is your currency, thus the invention is called Aircurrency,” Phaloane says. The product was conceptualised by Phaloane in late February.

Phaloane adds that the invention provides a payment system via an existing mobile phone provider using airtime as currency.

The method includes providing a vendor number linked to a goods or services provider, which is registered to a network, and a security component comprising a program code executable using a computing device and data on a tangible medium.

Phaloane explains that the financial transaction is made using the phone by executing keypad prompts. These will identify the phone user on the network end and send a code on the user’s device if they are conducting a transaction of a particular nature at a particular vendor for a particular amount. The network user will confirm by pressing a prompt to complete the transaction.

The program code in this regard would be managed by the mobile network provider and would include encryption software, which is used to encrypt information sent to the network and decrypt information received from the network user.

Transaction methods

The transaction can be completed in three different ways, and the purchase or withdrawal is deducted from the subscriber’s airtime balance.

Method 1:

Any phone model can be used for purchases and withdrawals.

USSD code *600*27*474# and a prompt will come up to confirm or cancel.



Method 2:

Smartphone users can choose USSD or use the QR code.

Scan QR code at till point or another smartphone where the charged amount is captured.

Method 3:

ATM card can be issued with a PIN and caters for both purchase swipes and money withdrawals on ATMs or at participating stores.

Phaloane points out that the above methods will enable users to make any purchases or withdrawals from any participating stores in their area without any hassle and no travelling costs.

“Purchase confirmation will be in the form of an SMS confirming your purchase amount and the balance of your airtime available,” he says.

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