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Virtual credit card now available to any SME

PayCentral, a digital payment fintech, has partnered with Mastercard to launch DigiCentral, a secure online platform that provides small business owners with a prepaid virtual card for paying out incentives, rewards, gifting, corporate expenses and even salaries to their employees.

The virtual card replaces a physical plastic card and can be used for ecommerce and instore purchases. To complete a purchase online, DigiCentral virtual cardholders receive a 16-digit card number, security code and expiry date, which they would use much like a physical card. It can be linked to online retail apps like Uber, Uber Eats, Checkers 60 Sixty and others.

For in-store purchases, the virtual card can be loaded to any Masterpass-enabled digital wallet. Once loaded, the cardholder can use their mobile phone to scan a QR code displayed at checkout at retailers and billers that accept Masterpass payments in South Africa.

According to Mastercard research, 68% of South Africans are shopping more online since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, while 75% say they are now using contactless payments, citing safety and cleanliness as key drivers.

“Social distancing has changed the way consumers pay and they now opt for touch-free, secure, and seamless ways to pay without compromising their health and safety,” says Suzanne Morel, country manager of Mastercard in South Africa. “This, in turn, has accelerated the demand for safe and secure virtual cards. Through our partnership with PayCentral, we can help small business owners to better meet the needs of their employees – without the costs and risks associated with cash.”

According to PayCentral, removing cash from the ecosystem has always been a high focus to reduce the threat of crime to business owners as well as to salary recipients. The risk of using cash as a primary means to transact puts households in danger, especially in the lower-income brackets.

“A large part of our focus in South Africa is directed toward SMEs,” says Veenash Parbhoo, founder of PayCentral. “We find that owners of smaller business need options when it comes to paying their staff as well as managing their petty cash and expenses. Working with small businesses for the past five years has allowed us to see them grow as a result of the payment products we offer.”

The PayCentral online portal allows SMEs access to a card management platform which has full reporting capability at no monthly cost. The portal gives business owners full control of their money movement without depending on third parties to meet deadlines. The payroll process still remains the same, but the disbursement of funds will be onto a card instead of cash or into bank accounts. In addition to a shift to virtual cards, PayCentral’s products also include a physical Mastercard prepaid card which allows recipients to withdraw money from any ATM and certain POS terminals countrywide.

For cardholders, according to Mastercard, the benefits include:

  • Low cost compared to bank account monthly commitments
  • Free Access to balances and transaction history through app and online
  • Get paid instantly at times of need
  • No more risk of being paid in cash
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