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Now pay SMEs via WhatsApp



A new payment platform called Money Message lets small and micro businesses receive secure in-chat payments from their customers via WhatsApp.

The facility, launched by Nedbank, in collaboration with Mastercard and Ukheshe, will enable merchants to send an invoice requesting a payment from any customer through WhatsApp. The customers in turn can settle a payment directly from the platform. 

“The need for a diverse range of contactless payment methods is more important today than we could have possibly imagined, as we seek to rebuild the economy by giving businesses the ability to transact in a safe and secure way,” says Chipo Mushwana, executive for emerging payments at Nedbank. 

“In order to support entrepreneurship and sustainable business growth across all markets, we need to deliver low-cost, accessible and flexible solutions that leverage widely accessible technologies. Money Message looks to overcome a variety of cost, security and technical barriers by enabling micro merchants and their customers to transact with each other easily on an existing platform, which is WhatsApp.”

Anyone with a valid South African identity document and South African bank account can access Money Message. Merchants will need to first register for the service, which is completed within a matter of minutes. They can then immediately initiate a payment request.

The business owner sends a request-to-pay message to the customer and for first-time users, a notification is sent via SMS prompting them to register for the service. The customer simply puts in their name, surname and registers their card details to make the payment securely. This means that customers can make secure, card-less payments via their cellphone numbers or QR codes.

While other institutions have released banking functionality that works through WhatsApp, Money Message is unique in that it has been specifically developed to process payments for merchants and small businesses. Rather than a banking plug-in, it is a payment system.

Suzanne Morel, country manager at Mastercard South Africa, says: “Every business owner is looking for ways to increase sales and reach new customers using different channels. By enabling smaller businesses to request digital payment through Whatsapp, smaller businesses can achieve these goals and create greater customer loyalty with little to no investment beyond the phone they already have.”

A beta version of Money Message has been available to a small selection of micro merchants for just over a month and will gradually reach the broader market during the rest of the year. To register, save Money Message’s number, +27 (0)87 240 6272, as a contact and start a chat in WhatsApp by sending the word ‘Hi’.

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