Payment service provider PayGate has entered into a partnership with Trans Africa Solutions, an African secure payment solutions company whose patented Smart Code product, SCode, allows barcoded invoices to be settled in cash at retailers and Post Offices throughout South Africa.
Until now, barcoded invoices, which allow cash settlement, have been the exclusive do-main of large companies that have had to negotiate individual deals with retailers and undergo lengthy and costly integration processes. E-commerce offerings have been cut off from this option, which has significantly constrained their access to certain markets.

“SCode’s revolutionary solution will allow even the smallest businesses selling online to generate electronic barcode invoices using all internet platforms, for goods or services being purchased. It also enables the large number of consumers who prefer to use cash, or who don’t have bank cards, to make payment for online purchases – solving the challenge for both the consumer and the retailer,” explained Brendon Williamson, PayGate’s head of business development.

E-commerce has traditionally relied on card payments or EFT transactions. This has effectively cut off a large percentage of the population who may still not trust online payments, or who may not use a bank.

“You can now imagine parents in a remote area buying textbooks online via their cell-phones, receiving a barcoded invoice and then being able to make payment at their local Shoprite and their children at university receiving the books the next day. This opens online shopping to every person, across every LSM,” commented SCode director, Fraser Gregg.

Network of retailers

The network of retailers that currently accept the SCode cash, debit or credit card payments include OK, Shoprite, Checkers, Checkers Hyper, House & Home, USave and all post office outlets, with other large retail chains coming on line in early 2016, creating one of the most extensive retail payment networks in southern Africa.

The PayGate – SCode solution is a seamless integration that can be added with no additional development required by the merchant. Even with the cash element, the system allows automatic reconciliation, significantly streamlining the transaction process for merchants.

“We chose to partner PayGate for a number of reasons. They have a great track record, a significant client base and an innovative approach towards online payments,” explained Gregg.

The solution is priced in line with existing card-based transactions. This keeps the offering competitive and affordable to all online merchants.

“Our clients want to get paid as quickly as possible, in as many ways as possible. This has allowed us to offer yet another means of payment without any additional integration being required,” said Williamson.

Begin transacting almost immediately

PayGate has integrated the SCode solution with all its existing products, but of significant interest to business owners is the combination of SCode with the PayBill product. PayBill allows companies without e-commerce functionality on their websites to accept and process online payments.

“With these two products you don’t need e-commerce functionality on your website and now you can add cash as a payment option to an array of existing payment methods. This means anyone can open a business and begin transacting almost immediately. We see this as yet another way in which we are enabling business development in Africa,” commented Williamson.

The PayGate offering allows even start-ups or small service providers to offer the same payment facilities as the larger corporates. With SCode, the payments are handled by the retailers, lowering regulatory risk. It also lowers the physical risk for those who have to handle large amounts of cash.

Looking ahead, Williamson said that PayGate plans to expand the SCode offering into further African markets, many of which remain predominantly cash based.