Vodacom will bring Alipay to the South African market and will develop a super-app for the benefit of consumers and merchants.

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Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom says the company will bring inclusive mobile solutions to its customers and merchants, especially small businesses. “We are planning to develop a payment super app that makes transactions simple, user-friendly and affordable”.

Mariam Cassim, CEO at Vodacom Financial Services says, “Our new super app and ecosystem will allow consumers to consolidate their apps and gain access to digital lifestyle and e-commerce solutions such as streaming entertainment through videos; gaming; music, and have access to cab hailing, food ordering, online shopping, utility payments, travel bookings, investment solutions, and so much more.”

The platform will be zero-rated for Vodacom customers, but will be open to all consumers outside the Vodacom network. “There will be certain benefits for Vodacom customers will access the platform, and that would be things like the zero rating of data. Additional loyalty benefits through a time and data which will be pushed towards our own customers first,” says Cassim.

The company says it will serve both the banked and unbanked parts of the population. It will also be available at supermarkets and retailers by scanning a QR code. Cassim adds, “The nice thing about this platform is just the real time discounts and promos that can be offered to customers who are doing purchases at retail outlets.”

“The platform will allow for hundreds of these large and small merchants to position their products and services to all of Vodacom’s customers; 43 million of them – in a manner that incorporates personalization and knowing the customer through smart programmatic advertising and real-time direct marketing solutions,” says Cassim.

VFC says it aims to remove the cost barriers traditionally associated with digital payments to enable and promote financial inclusion in the country by allowing the emerging market more freedom to choose how they would like to process payments – QR code scanning being one example.

“We live in a country where the cost of cash-less transacting is quite high for small merchants and large FMCG companies struggle to reach or communicate directly with the end distributor of their products. Vodacom Financial Services aims to link South African merchants, suppliers and consumers on one affordable platform. The primary focus of every development on this Super-app is to deliver a seamless and value-adding experience to everyone who uses it, in a cost efficient way,” adds Cassim.

The mobile operator says in addition to the benefits associated with accessibility and affordability, there will also be support offered to the SME businesses such as bespoke, programmatic advertising as well as real-time and direct marketing solutions – all zero-rated for customer consumption.

The mobile payment platform will be integrated into Vodacom’s VodaPay POS services, offering merchants a single-payments processing solution for physical and mobile commerce.