South Africa’s Consumer Sector: Building a Stronger and More Inclusive One Over the last few years, South Africa has seen a rapid increase in digital adoption and mobile phone penetration. However, traditional banks have not been able to reach the lower market customers while non-traditional financial solutions have been growing their customer base. High bank charges and the inability to interpret complex traditional banking products are some of the main drivers of the “unbanked market”. “Greater financial access is essential for consumers in the South African landscape, where most consumers rely on cash for their transactions,” explains Andrew Hardie, Chief Executive Officer at Pay@ — a leading payment aggregator and provider of secure payment solutions. “86% of in-person transactions take place at retailers, and this is clearly evident in the bill payments industry and across our extensive network of retailers in South Africa.” Pay@ is a Shoprite partner since 2008, allowing the unbanked to access more financial products within the financial services industry. “There is a trend among banked customers in the lower end of the market to withdraw cash as soon as it’s deposited into their bank accounts due to the fear of debit order strikes and related bank charges,” Johan De Wet, Brand & Marketing Manager: Financial Services at The Shoprite Group of Companies, explains. This gives customers the chance to gain better control of their finances. As SA’s leading bill payment aggregator, Pay@ has been at the forefront of navigating this unchartered territory within its bill payments network. Through its collaboration with Shoprite, consumers can complete their day-to-day bill payments at the retailer’s Money Market pay points. With Pay@’s partnership with Shoprite, consumers can continue to keep their money safe with the brand that they’ve trusted for 50 years. Technology advances are driving the banking industry to grow faster, with a focus upon efficiency, transparency, and better customer service. Access to data is required for the unbanked population of South Africa to have access to these digital banking services. Shoprite recognizes the need to provide customers with a low cost digital banking solution that allows them basic financial transactions through the device at their fingertips. Grindrod Bank has partnered with the Shoprite Group to develop the Money Market Account. It is a digital transactional bank product that allows customers to save and transact in a secure and safe way. “The development and rollout of the account have been driven entirely by customer needs. They wanted a straightforward account which allows them to be in full control of their money,” says De Wet. Although cash remains king in SA’s unbanked market, the digitization of bill payments continues to introduce a shift in consumers’ buying and payment behavior across the LSM spectrum.