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Masterpass now connects to 30 000 SnapScan merchants

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South Africans can now use Masterpass, a global digital payment service by Mastercard, to pay for goods and services at over 30 000 SnapScan merchants in South Africa using their smartphones.

This follows a collaboration announced today by Mastercard and SnapScan, a mobile payments solution backed by Standard Bank, at the Mastercard Digital Indaba in Cape Town.

Consumers can download the MasterPass app from their app store, register, and load their credit, debit or cheque cards from any bank into the digital wallet. To pay, Masterpass users simply need to scan a QR code, or SnapCode, displayed at point of sale or online at a wide range of SnapScan merchants including coffee shops, professionals like doctors and market vendors. They then enter the payment amount into their Masterpass app and confirm the transaction with their ATM pin code or a one-time pin code sent to their mobile phones.

Each Masterpass transaction is classified as an Authenticated Mobile Transaction by South African banks, ensuring that consumers enjoy the highest protection from fraudsters.

“With Masterpass, we’re enabling consumers to make secure and simple everyday payments wherever they are and from any connected device, without needing to physically carry their bank cards with them,” says Mark Elliott, Division President, Mastercard, South Africa.  “Thanks to our collaboration with SnapScan, we are pleased to offer consumers even more places to pay using Masterpass, which is now the most widely accepted digital wallet in South Africa.”

Since its launch in 2013, SnapScan has grown its acceptance exponentially, especially among small businesses that traditionally did not have access to traditional Point of Sale devices and relied on cash payments. It makes accepting digital card payments cheap and easy, with merchants simply needing to display a QR code at the till, online or on a bill.

“Given SnapScan’s extensive acceptance footprint, the ability to offer merchants a single QR code which will accept payment from multiple mobile wallet solutions such as Masterpass is the driving force behind creating interoperability,” says Lincoln Mali, Head of Group Card and Payments at Standard Bank. “We believe that interoperability between digital payments platforms is one of the keys to driving digital payments usage and acceptance in South Africa.”

The integration of Masterpass with SnapScan delivers benefits for the entire payments ecosystem including consumers, banks and merchants. Consumers can continue to use Masterpass, while gaining access to thousands of SnapScan merchants for a secure and simplified checkout experience. For the banks who already have Masterpass apps, they will now be able to offer expanded acceptance via SnapScan to their customers. Merchants now have an opportunity to reach even more consumers currently using Masterpass– without additional development work.

“Mastercard is working to ensure that every one of our accounts is as digital as the people using them. Enabling Masterpass users to shop at SnapScan merchants is the latest example of how we can deliver rich, innovative, compelling and secure ways to pay and get paid across all channels and devices, redefining commerce,” says Elliott.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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