Electrum recently helped two of the country’s largest retailers institute QR code payment capability – firsts for South Africa. Thanks to our experience with this technology, we’ve been able to roll it out in record time in response to our clients’ needs.

There’s never been a better time for a zero-contact payment mechanism. QR code payments offer a safe way to transact at retail points – of vital importance right now as South Africans are practicing social distancing and trying to cut down exposure to coronavirus.

…pleased to help two of Africa’s largest retail networks implement QR code payment capability…

Retailers are doing all they can to protect the safety of both their customers and staff, while providing essential goods to the public. This month, Electrum was only too pleased to help two of Africa’s largest retail networks implement QR code payment capability in efforts to limit contact between shoppers and cashiers. Shoprite will be rolling out its QR code functionality across South Africa within the next two months, with the rest of its African operations to follow. Pick n Pay has just finished its testing phase and will go live in all stores shortly.

Electrum’s technology allows a QR code to be generated dynamically at a till point. Unlike the static codes often seen on stands on restaurant countertops, dynamic codes are displayed digitally on screen at pay points and are unique to each transaction. There’s less room for error, since the amount payable can be embedded in the QR code and doesn’t have to be entered by the customer. Importantly, the customer and teller needn’t handle cards or cash, reducing the potential for contamination – it’s a no-touch mechanism.

…South Africans are embracing new payment technologies…

A general trend our own research has identified is that South Africans are embracing new payment technologies more and more every day. When retailers offer safe, convenient ways to pay, their customers respond. And QR code payments come with additional benefits for retailers: less onerous compliance requirements, the ability to aggregate multiple tender types (like vouchers, loyalty points and credit card payments) on a single QR code, customer identification for use with loyalty programs, information on shopping behaviour, and the ability to send personal communication to customers’ devices.

While the recent roll-out of QR code technology for our clients is certainly timely, Electrum’s extensive research and development has allowed us to help our clients respond to consumer demand and implement it quickly. Over several years, we’ve worked closely with Mastercard to optimise our QR payment solution in line with EMVCo protocols. EMVCo is the international body set up by major players in the payments sector to address standardisation of the technology and facilitate worldwide acceptance of secure payments.

Electrum has helped to establish guidelines for QR transactions…

We have also been an active member of the working group for standardising QR payments, organised by PASA (Payments Association of South Africa). While Mastercard has global reach and PASA focuses on South Africa, both organisations are working towards similar goals. With the other partners of the PASA QR working group, Electrum has helped to establish guidelines for QR transactions that protect consumers and retailers, particularly around user experience and standardisation of QR code payment rails, as defined in Project Future

The work of Project Future is ongoing, but PASA acknowledges the EMVCo international standard. Currently, Electrum is the only enterprise digital payments platform in South Africa able to offer large merchants the ability to generate QR codes at the point of sale in accordance with the EMVCo guidelines for interoperability. 

If you would like to future-proof your business by implementing QR payment capabilities that are built on experience, sound business principles, and international standards, please drop us an email.

Anton Groenewald

Anton Groenewald

Anton Groenewald is Technical Sales Executive at Electrum Payments. He holds a B.Eng (E&E) Com Sci at the University of Stellenbosch. Anton has worked in various roles in the payments industry since 2009, including Software Development, Technical Project Management, Service Delivery, Business Development and Presales.