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Samsung Pay goes official in SA

Samsung has launched its mobile payment service, Samsung Pay, in South Africa. It is now available in 24 markets worldwide, making the mobile wallet app the most widely accepted mobile payment platform.

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It enables users to make mobile payments using both MST (mag-stripe technology) and NFC (near-field communications). The first of its kind in Africa, it features the benefits of both a physical and mobile wallet to make in-store purchases safer and simpler.

Samsung Pay gives users full control of their digital payment journey by ensuring all transactions are secure and authenticated by the user,” the company stated. “Featuring Samsung’s defence-grade Samsung Knox security platform and biometric authentication through iris or fingerprint scanning, users can have peace of mind that their personal payment information is safe. Additionally, tokenization ensures that a user’s actual card information is never exposed during a transaction, making every payment more secure.”

Samsung Pay is currently available for Absa and Standard Bank customers with supported Mastercard and Visa payment cards. Avios credit cards, British Airways credit cards and Virgin Money cards are also supported. Samsung Pay also supports the ability to load loyalty cards.

“Samsung Pay works almost anywhere you can swipe, insert or tap a card, so as the first country in Africa to implement this, we are hugely excited about how it’s going to transform our customers’ lives”, says Craige Fleischer, Vice President of Integrated Mobility for Samsung South Africa. “Samsung Pay is committed to driving the mobile wallet movement in Africa, and this launch furthers Samsung’s dedication to delivering innovative services to consumers everywhere.”.

While cash might not be dead, and cards still dominate the payments landscape, the world of contactless payments is evolving faster than ever before. The way consumers make payments is changing faster than any area of financial services, impacted by rapid changes in digital technology, competitive forces and consumer demands.

Tshipi Alexander, Head of Consumer Issuing at Absa Retail and Business Banking, says, “Making a payment has become so much more than just making a transaction and is now also about the experience. Therefore, many of the developments in financial technology we have introduced over the past few years have been about making the buying process quicker and more convenient. The arrival of Samsung Pay now gives Absa customers even more choice on how they can make payments. It will allow them to make simple, quick and highly secure payments with their Samsung phone when purchasing goods at most retailers on both contactless and non-contactless terminals where they currently use their Absa cards – without ever having to get their card from their wallet,”

Says Ethel Nyembe, Standard Bank SA Head of Card Issuing, “We want to make sure that Standard Bank’s payment solutions become the preferred choice for digital experiences – whether it be traditional cards, virtual cards, tap to pay, or Samsung Pay. Customers retain their plastic cards, but we are making sure that people who want to go beyond traditional payment methods can now participate in an exciting mobile payments world, which is getting bigger every day.”

To start using Samsung Pay, Samsung users must upgrade to the latest software version for eligible Samsung Galaxy smartphones, download the Samsung Pay app from the Google Play store, register or log in to their Samsung account, select a preferred method of verification by fingerprint, iris scan or PIN, scan a debit, credit or cheque card with the camera, and verify the card details.

To make payments, users launch the Samsung Pay app by swiping up from the home screen or lock screen, authenticate with their iris, fingerprint or PIN, then tap or hold their Samsung device close to the payment terminal. Because Samsung Pay works on both MST and NFC point of sales terminals, vendors do not need to change their current point of sale machines to accommodate this technology.

Mark Elliott, Division President at Mastercard, Southern Africa, says, “We have been a pioneer of mobile commerce innovation for years and are excited to work with Samsung to deliver new frictionless payment options to consumers, in turn helping to accelerate the adoption of digital payments in South Africa. Every Samsung Pay transaction made with Mastercard is highly secure. A critical part of this is our ability to tokenise cardholder details, where a ‘token’ and not a real card number is provided to the shop, offering both consumers and retailers all the safety benefits and guarantees of a transaction made with a physical card.”

Geraldine Mitchley, Head of Digital Solutions for Visa in Sub Saharan Africa, commented: “We are thrilled to expand mobile payment options for Visa cardholders in South Africa. Today’s launch of Samsung Pay gives Visa cardholders a mobile payment solution that is further strengthened by the security of Visa Token Service technology and which enables safe and easy contactless in-store payments with their Samsung mobile. Considering the number of smart phone users in South Africa is expected to reach over 25 million by 2022, we are seeing that the phone is the one item people always have with them and Visa supports payment solutions that fit people’s changing lifestyles.”

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Queues and cash-only frustrate SA’s commuters

A new study by Visa reveals the success factors for improving travel and creating smarter cities

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The use of cash-only payments was a frustration for 38% of Johannesburg commuters and 37% of Cape Town-based commuters, according to a new global study by Visa. Another commuter frustration when paying for public transport has been long queues – 67% of Johannesburg commuters and 64% of Cape Town commuters.

Visa, in collaboration with Stanford University, came up with these findings in one of the largest global studies examining the growing demand for public and private transportation, and the important role digital commerce plays in driving sustainable growth.

According to the UN[i], by 2050, 68 percent of the world’s population will live in urban centres – and the number of “megacities” with populations greater than 10 million people will rise from 43 today to 51 within that same period. South Africa is no different, with the majority of the country relying heavily on the public transport system. In fact, according to the General Household Survey (GHS) for 2018, a total of 54 209 000 minibus/taxi trips take place in South African per month. 

Building on Visa’s experience working with transit operators, automotive companies and technology start-ups, Visa commissioned a global study, “The Future of Transportation: Mobility in the Age of the Megacity” to better understand the challenges commuters face today and in the future. The key findings were combined with a view of existing and near horizon innovations provided by experts at Stanford University, to better understand the technology gaps in addressing their pain points.

The South African Perspective

Payments lie at the heart of every form of travel, and will continue to become more integral as more cities move to contactless public transportation, digital payments for parking and rental services such as bikes or scooters.  Malijeng Ngqaleni, Deputy Director-General of the South African Inter-governmental Relations, states that a high as 60% of South African households spend on average of 20% of their monthly income on transport, while in rural areas this number can be as high as 31%.

Aside from cash-only payments, another commuter frustration when paying for public transport has been long queues – 67% of Johannesburg commuters and 64% of Cape Town commuters. Over the last few years, a number of mobile-driven taxi-hailing apps have been launched in the South African market to counteract these concerns and commuters are open to the possibilities presented by mobile apps. The Visa study echoed this by showing that 77% of Johannesburg commuters and 76% of Cape Town commuters would be willing to try a consolidated app to make payments for public transport.

 Mike Lemberger, SVP, Product Solutions Europe, Visa says: “The future success of our cities is intertwined with – and reliant on – the future of transportation and mobility. Visa and our partners have an important role to play, both in streamlining the payment experience for millions of commuters around the globe, and supporting public transportation authorities in their quest to build sustainable and convenient transportation solutions that improve the lives of the people who use it.”

Herman Donner, PhD and Postdoctoral Researcher from Stanford University co-authored the report and summarised: “When looking across the technology landscape, there already exist many products that could easily address people’s daily frustrations with travel.  However, none of these solutions should be developed in isolation. A major challenge therefore lies in first identifying relevant technologies that provide suitable products for the market then managing implementation in conjunction with  a broad set of stakeholder including  mobility providers, technology companies, infrastructure owners and public transport agencies.  From our research, we think that many of these small, incremental changes have the potential to make a significant difference in people’s daily travel,  whether it’s to help find parking, get the best price to refuel their car or plan their journey on public transportation.”

Click here for the detailed global findings.

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Women take to tech, but more needed

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By HAIDI NOSSAIR, Marketing Director META, Dell Technologies

$12 trillion – that is the value in additional global GDP that remains locked behind the gender gap. This is according to the latest Women Matter report from McKinsey, which also reveals startling disparities in the workplace. Even though women make up more than half of the human population, only 37% contribute to GDP on average – and in some countries that proportion is significantly lower.

The reasons for this can be put in three areas. Fewer women – 650 million fewer than men – participate in the global labour force. Women are also more likely to be in part-time employment and thus work fewer hours. Finally, female employees are more common in lower-productivity sectors than in higher-productivity areas.  Are women not being offered the opportunity or are they holding themselves back?

Among STEM careers this ratio is particularly dismal: only 24% of engineering professionals are women, and as few as 19% of careers in ICT are filled by women.

What is the cause of this? Studies have found that women pursuing STEM careers are higher in countries with more oppressive policies towards women, because those careers hold the promise for financial freedom and more social autonomy. In contrast, countries with progressive attitudes towards women tend to produce fewer female STEM graduates. Then how can we encourage women from early ages to take the path of STEM education?  And how can organizations ensure women have equal opportunity at the hiring stages.

Certainly addressing gender inequality is crucial and must not stop.. Where women are increasingly more part of the workforce, there are often still barriers preventing them from assuming higher management roles. Female entrepreneurs often struggle more to gain investment capital. Corporate cultures are rarely aligned with the pressures of balancing work and family obligations. Decision makers may simply lack exposure to the potential of female candidates. Female pioneers have also argued that women are too risk-averse when compared to men. 

Whether these assertions are true is a matter for debate – and that’s exactly why every professional man and woman should be talking about them and identify action to change the status-quo. This is not just about female rights, but about social upliftment: companies with a mixture of male and female leaders perform better across the board and companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity are 21% more likely to outperform on profitability.

The digital economy we live in today represent a golden opportunity for increased women contribution to the workforce as technology breaks the boundaries of location and time for the workplace and where labor intensive jobs may today be performed by data scientists. 

For two days in March, top professionals will gather to talk and exchange ideas around creating more roles for women, larger appreciation for female professionals, as well as counter the attitudes among women holding them back from greater career success and autonomy.

If you want to be part of this conversation, join the Women in Tech Africa summit today at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town – learn more at https://www.women-in-tech-africa-summit.com/ and use the code DELL20 for a 20% discount.

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