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Digital payments soar as consumers and businesses look to ease Coronavirus fears

Demand for secure online and contactless payments is surging in South Africa on the back of f

ears around the spread of coronavirus, with many people reluctant to use cash or to touch point of sale machines. As the number of confirmed cases increases daily, growing numbers of retailers are scrambling to get online payment systems in place to meet a spike in demand from customers looking for contactless payment options, said Thomas Pays, the chief executive of online payment platform Ozow.

“We’ve seen a massive uptake in activity on our platform as we support our merchants to continue to trade as normal as possible. We’re currently processing around 35-40% more transactions a day than we were a couple of weeks ago, and we’re being inundated by merchants wanting to go live on our system as their customers practice social distancing and want to avoid touching cash and card machines,” said Pays. The greatest demand is coming from pharmacy groups and retailers, who are processing huge volumes of ecommerce orders and deliveries from their stores. Retailers are also using Ozow for COD deliveries as it enables contactless transacting, while ensuring instant payment. Pays said the current pandemic would accelerate the global trend away from cash to digital payments, as necessity drives faster adoption. “There’s no doubt that digital payments are going to be beneficial to both businesses and consumers at this time, as they look for ways to get through the crisis. Ultimately, I think this crisis will drive a real change in behaviour by getting more people to use digital payment options. While some may have a fear of online transacting, given the high levels of security built into our platform, consumers and businesses will feel safe and secure when purchasing goods or services with Ozow,” said Pays.

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