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6DOT50 intros digital rands to buy food in SA

Read time 2min 30sec

South Africans can now use digital rands to pay for food items, facilitated by fintech firm 6DOT50, which is introducing a new way to pay for essential goods.

The company, which focuses on financial inclusion of unbanked and underbanked customers in emerging markets, says it is introducing digital rands to assist vulnerable individuals to pay for much-needed food items as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates in the country.

According to 6DOT50, there are over 11 million South Africans who do not have a bank account and, during the lockdown, receiving wages is logistically challenging.

It says many businesses have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and employees have been laid off and people are running out of cash and hunger is now a more immediate threat than the virus.

As a result, 6DOT50 says the payment needs of vulnerable individuals must quickly be met if widespread civil unrest is to be averted.

“These unprecedented times demand agile, relevant and collaborative responses to addressing the needs of South Africa’s poor and vulnerable. With robust, well-tested technology in place and with the support of South Africa’s best known and most trusted retail brands, we believe that digital rands will meet the critical need for a new way to pay in South Africa, during COVID-19 and beyond,” says Warren Venter, director of 6DOT50.

The company says a standard architecture design has been applied across its platforms that “allows for easy maintenance, distributed cloud architecture, consistent performance and the ability to scale easily as new requirements surface”.

It adds: “The platform is hosted on Microsoft Azure and managed by Cyberlogic. The core platforms have been deployed and used by large insurance organisations, with various components still used under licence to assist with managing cross-border money remittance services. Users can access 6DOT50’s solution via responsive Web, with Android and iOS native applications to follow soon.”

6DOT50 says people wanting to help those in need can buy digital rands and either send them directly to any 6DOT50 member to use, or contribute them to the 6DOT50 COVID-19 account.

Digital rands can be bought by logging onto the Web site, getting a quote and making payment − either by using a bank card online, or by using cash at major retail store outlets, including Pick n Pay, Checkers, Shoprite, Makro, Boxer, Spar, Usave, Game and through thousands of Flash traders.

“A small transaction fee to cover the retailer fees is charged,” says the company.

“We have also made it super-simple for any spaza shop or informal merchant to register with us and accept digital rands as a contactless payment alternative to cash,” says Venter.

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