Mastercard has announced a collaboration with Yoco to roll out 15,000 mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) devices to small and medium-sized businesses by the end of the year, while educating them on the benefits of going cashless.
To start accepting card payments, business owners simply connect the Yoco card reader to their Android/iOS smartphones or tablets. The hardware is paired with a comprehensive Point of Sale (POS) application and business intelligence portal to give businesses real-time access to sales insights and analytics, helping them to further boost their revenue through informed decision-making.
“Small and medium businesses employ over 60 percent of the labour force in South Africa, yet they lack the basic tools necessary to accept electronic payments and run their businesses effectively,” says Katlego Maphai, CEO of Yoco. “Through this partnership, we will empower even more small businesses that previously did not accept card payments, while growing the market and making a contribution to our economy.”
According to Mastercard, small and medium-sized merchants that have never accepted card payments are turning to mPOS solutions to expand their customer base and increase sales.
“While the number of South Africans with access to formal banking products has grown substantially over the last few years, the number of card acceptance locations – especially at small businesses – has not grown in parallel,” says Mark Elliott, Division President for Mastercard, Southern Africa. “Solutions like Yoco enable these small and medium businesses to respond to their customers’ increasing desire to pay for goods and services with payment cards rather than cash, which is higher risk, without making large upfront investments in infrastructure or facing high transaction costs.”
Since launching its mobile card acceptance offering in 2015, Yoco has grown its base to over 14,500 merchants and is now adding over 1,200 new merchants every month. Its affordable pay-per-use transaction pricing model with no fixed monthly rental fee appeals to smaller merchants that normally would not be able to afford traditional card terminals. According to Yoco, over 70 percent of its merchants had never accepted cards before.
The company’s growth is a result of its innovative distribution through the Yoco online store, where 80 percent of its card readers are sold. A business can register and purchase a card reader in less than five minutes, with delivery taking an average of two business days. Yoco is also expanding its physical retail distribution, where businesses can purchase a card reader from several national retail partners and its newly launched Yoco Store in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, and transact the same day
Hlobsile Manana, founder and owner of Mbali Rose Hair, says since signing up with Yoco, her businesses has flourished.
“I can use it on my tablet when I’m at the shop, and when I go out to markets, I’m able to use my phone. Around 65 percent of my sales are processed on Yoco. Offering customers card payments is not only more convenient, it also means they do not have to carry around large amounts of money and feel unsafe,” she says.
Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart
Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.
As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page
KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching.
The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter.
The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style.
The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button.
The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on.
In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode.
Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.
Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.
Find them on Kickstarter here.
Taxify enters Google Maps
A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.
People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.
Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.
Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.
If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.
This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.
“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.
Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.