SOUTH AFRICAN bank Nedbank, in collaboration with Mastercard and Ukheshe, has launched Money Message, a payment platform that lets small and micro businesses conveniently receive secure in-chat payments from their customers via WhatsApp.
The bank said the solution was the first of its kind in South Africa.
“The solution will enable merchants to send an invoice requesting payment from any customer seamlessly through WhatsApp. Their customers, in turn, can quickly and seamlessly settle payment directly from the platform,” it said.
How it works: the business owner sends a request-to-pay message to the customer, and, for first-time users, a notification is sent via SMS, prompting them to register for the service. The customer adds their name and surname and registers their card details to make the payment securely. This means customers could make secure, cardless payments via their cellphone numbers or QR codes.
To access the Money Message, one needs a valid South African ID and a South African bank account.
“Merchants will need to first register for the service, which is completed within a matter of minutes, and after, they can immediately initiate a payment request,” Nedbank said.
Nedbank Emerging Payments executive Chipo Mushwana said: “The need for a diverse range of contactless payment methods is more important today than we could have possibly imagined, as we seek to rebuild the economy by giving businesses the ability to transact safely and securely.
“To support entrepreneurship and sustainable business growth across all markets, we need to deliver low-cost, accessible, and flexible solutions that leverage widely accessible technologies. Money Message looks to overcome a variety of cost, security and technical barriers by enabling micro-merchants and their customers to transact with each other easily on an existing platform, which is WhatsApp.”
Nedbank said that while other institutions released banking functionality that worked through WhatsApp, Money Message was unique because it was developed to process payments for merchants and small businesses.
“Rather than a banking plug-in, it was an innovative payment system that meets the unique needs of South African entrepreneurs.”
Ukheshe co-founder Mike Smits said chat commerce was seeing exponential growth across the globe.
“We are excited to partner with Nedbank and take the lead in South Africa with its new Money Message product, and look forward to helping our customers remain innovative through the use of market-leading transactional platforms,” he said.
Mastercard, South Africa country manager Suzanne Morel said business owners were looking for ways to increase sales and reach new customers using different channels.
“By enabling smaller businesses to request digital payment through WhatsApp, smaller businesses can achieve these goals and create greater customer loyalty with little to no investment beyond the phone they already have,” she said.
To register, customers must save the Money Message’s number, +27 (0)87 240 6272, as a contact on their phone and start a chat in WhatsApp by sending the word “Hi”.