Mastercard, Blue Label in rural payment push

Thousands of small businesses in South Africa will for the first time accept bank card payments from consumers thanks to a partnership between Blue Label Telecoms and MasterCard.

The partnership will see 22,000 small traders and rural shops equipped with Point of Sale (POS) devices, the pair said in a statement.

The payment solution will increase sales, improve cash flow and reduce the amount of cash that traders handle, which can be unsafe and costly.

For consumers, using bank cards is seen as the fastest and safest way to make purchases. It also provides convenience and safety.

Blue Label currently provides thousands of POS terminals in South Africa, which are used predominantly to sell prepaid vouchers.

"Over and above the estimated 100,000 spaza shops spread across South Africa, there are tens of thousands of small- and medium-sized retailers and service providers. Through our partnership with MasterCard, we will introduce many of these businesses to the safety, security, and convenience of electronic payments, enabling financial inclusion in communities where consumers have largely been unable to use formal payment products," says Mark Levy, Joint CEO, Blue Label.

"While the number of South Africans with access to formal banking products has increased significantly in the last year, the number of card acceptance locations – especially in rural and peri-urban areas – has not grown in tandem," says Philip Panaino, Division President, MasterCard, South Africa.

Blue Label will roll out over 15,000 new EMV-certified, contactless-ready POS terminals, allowing traders to accept Chip and PIN and contactless payment cards, as well as upgrade some 7,000 of Blue Label's existing terminals used in smaller spazas, with MasterCard Mobile software.

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