South Africa’s just launched a new digital payments system, called PayShap (because of course it is) in conjunction with four of the country’s major banks. Absa, First National Bank, Nedbank, and Standard Bank are all participating in this new system which should make interbank transfers and payments a far simpler and cheaper affair.
A safer affair too, if the official statements are any indication. There are currently two ways for users to receive payment. Either they can use an account number, the way folks have been doing ever since filling out those paper slips in a bank was a thing, or a unique identifier (called a ShapID but in reality, your phone number) to instantly transfer money from one bank account to another.
There’s another payment method still lurking in development. That would be specifically requesting payment into a specific account. This would let PayShap act almost as a point-of-sale system, for both formal and informal transactions. Buying fruit on the side of the road? No cash is needed. Splitting a bill with your notoriously cheap mates? They can pay up before they get into their car. Or it could function in a more traditional retail setting, but we’ll have to wait and see how it all looks before jumping into that pool.
At launch, PayShap only allows transactions no larger than R3,000 to be sent or received, though there is a R5,000 daily limit to accompany it. It’s worth noting that the R3,000 limit is confined to single transactions. Whether that limit will be updated over the course of PayShap’s life is still to be determined.
Mpho Sadiki, head of real-time payments at BankservAfric, said, “At launch, PayShap will be automatically accessible through bank channels such as mobile banking and internet banking. We anticipate that in the future, banks will innovate and opt to enable additional digital access channels.”
In other words, this isn’t a standalone service. It’s being adopted by banks in South Africa and will be supported via the app that’s already installed on your smartphone. Other banks are expected to come online in the next few months, though the folks at PayShap haven’t listed them as yet. There are, amazingly, 63 banks operating in this country (give or take a few duplications) but since the major ones are on-board, you probably won’t be left out of the PayShap excitement.