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Yoco launches R800 card machine for small businesses

In a move for financial inclusion for SMEs, Yoco has launched an R800 card machine, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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When many think about financial inclusion, the clear audience is consumers. What Yoco has uncovered is the other side of financial inclusion: small businesses.

With an upward trajectory of banked South Africans, Yoco aims to keep businesses in the loop with an affordable, forward thinking solution to business management.

“We are solving the challenges South African businesses are facing using digitise innovation to unlock this vital part of the economy,” says Katlego Maphai, CEO of Yoco. “Payment acceptance affects everyone. It’s the lowest common denominator in every business. We redefined card payment acceptance by removing red tape around getting a card machine.

“Before Yoco, it was a lengthily process to accept cards. We cut down this process from two weeks to two days or less. This was done by focusing innovation on what matters to small businesses: affordability, quality, speed, flexibility, and most importantly, no lock-ins.”

Yoco’s main benefit is card machine ownership. With traditional card machines, banks rent out these devices to their clients for a monthly fee, similar to a mobile phone contract. According to Yoco, this model ends up being far too costly for smaller businesses to adopt.

In 2016, Yoco launched two devices: the Yoco Pro and Yoco Lite. These devices were both under R3000 to own the device. With many merchants paying upwards of R400 per month (or more than R9600 over two years) to never own the card machine, the switch to Yoco Pro was a no brainer.

“The Yoco Pro is built for businesses that want a more robust offering,” says Lungisa Matshoba, CTO of Yoco. ”It comes with a strong line of accessories, including a stand for those who are more used to card machines being placed that way. It’s also strong by its functionality. In 2018, we launched an over the air update to enable NFC, and with that update, we enabled tap-and-pay to over 10 000 Yoco Pro machines.”

On the other hand, the Yoco Lite helped many small businesses onboard to digital payments.

“The Yoco Lite is our best seller, which helped us tap into the untapped market,” says Matshoba. “We are proud that over 70% of our customers hadn’t accepted cards before using Yoco. We drove financial inclusion with this device – an accessible solution for everybody. We have enabled 50 000 SMEs around the country to use comprehensive tools to not only accept payments, but also manage their businesses.

“Our team has been hard at work to onboard our next set of customers. We’ve worked with customers and suppliers to deliver a solution that will include more South African businesses than before.”

Matshoba introduced the Yoco Go: a R800 card machine that offers swipe, chip, and tap payments in a small, pocket-sized form factor. The device is set to replace the Now discontinued Yoco Lite.

“We’re trying to accelerate the movement away from cash,” says Carl Wazen, chief business officer at Yoco. “The price of a card machine is a genuine barrier to entrepreneurs who haven’t considered card payments before. The Yoco Go is a statement we’re making: starting today, anyone can start accepting card payments and benefit from the growth that it brings. No matter how small, informal, infrequent or young you are, card payments are now within your reach.”

The Yoco Go is now available from Yoco for R799, or R50 per week on a 21 week payment plan. Visit Yoco.co.za for more information.

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