Mobile POS options in South Africa

South Africa has an abundance of entrepreneurs, in various industries supplying different services and goods.

From large scale operations to street vendors, to people who sell goods and services at weekend events. There is a large space for financial transactions, and with the rise of technology and less people carrying cash, this means entrepreneurs need to start catering to customers needs by having speed points.

In this article we focus mainly on small businesses and/or people offering goods and services to a small audience. So don’t think restaurant, think kota place or corner tarven.

Traditional Point of Sale systems are found in larger establishments, and are usually rented out from banks. This is not an option for someone who sells food at a market on weekends, or the lady who sells beers at her tavern/house. So there has to be alternatives, right?

It turns out there are a few, as to whether they could be better, well that is your call.

Below we look at each device available, the cards it supports, the cash price for buying it, a few other technical specifications and also the transaction costs involved in owning one. Note that these services charge transaction costs, this is usually per swipe even after you own the physical device. You still need to pay for the service.

YOCO

Yoco is a company that offers 2 devices, in addition to accessories such as charging stands, cradles, iPad stands and racks.

Device options

  • Yoco Wireless Lite : R1749
    Visa and Mastercard support
    Supports Android and iOS
    All day battery
    Not suitable for high traffic
    Does NOT support NFC tap to pay
  • Yoco Wireless Pro : R2749
    Visa and Mastercard support
    Android and iOS support
    All day battery
    Ideal for high traffic
    Supports NFC tap to pay
    Has accessories such as charging stand and lanyard(not included in price)

Transaction costs

  • Per transaction : 2.95% (excl VAT) for transactions amounting to R20000 or less a month, they decrease the higher your monthly returns are
    Credit cards have a minimum charge of R1.71 in addition to the transaction fees
    No charges for email receipts sent, settlement or transfer bank charges

Nedbank

Nedbank has joined the race and brought it’s own offering. Competition is good for us as customers, and being a bank you would think they have more experience in this.  They however only have one device with no variations of it.

Device options

  • PocketPOS : R1199
    Accepts all major chip-and-PIN credit and debit cards(incl American Express, Mastercard and Visa)
    Detailed reporting
    Supports Android, iOS and Blackberry OS

Transaction costs

  • Initiation fee : R114
    Per transaction : 2.75%(excl VAT)

Standard Bank

Another bank brings an offering, however, Standard bank decided against putting a lot of information out there about the device. This could be because of all the complaints and issues people have had with it in the past. There is not much information on this device, even on the Standard Bank website.

Device options

  • BluMobi : Can’t find retail price
    Supports Master card and Visa debit and credit cards
    Supports Android, iOS and Blackberry OS
    It sucks

There is not much to say about this device as there is not much information about it. it is worth contacting Standard Bank and finding out more information about it.

Zip Zap

Zip Zap offers a device and service that seems affordable. Although the site is not as polished as it could be, going through it, it seems like it is a viable option.

Device options

  • mPOS : R1599
    Supports major cards including Mastercard and Visa
    Supports Android, iOS, Windows and Blackberry OS
    Real time tracking of transactions online
    Free SMS or email receipts for clients

Transaction costs

  • Per transaction : 2.75% (excl VAT)
    You are charged R150(excl VAT) for each month you don’t make R25000.
    Reflection of funds into account can take 1-3 days

ABSA

ABSA Bank got on the bus as well and came to the party. They are still sticking to the rental methodology, but do have a device you can buy, in addition to rental fees. WTF ABSA

Device options

  • Payment Pebble : Cannot be bought(Rent at R149(excl VAT) p/m for 24 months)
    Supports Chip and PIN cards including Visa, Master card and some Amex and Diners club cards
    Supports tap and go
    Supports digital receipt through SMS or email
    Has transaction history
    Supports some iOS(version 6 and higher) and Android(version 2.3.3 and higher) devices
  • Payment Pebble headset : R2499 (Additional rental fee of R199 p/m for 24 months)
    Same features as Payment pebble

Transaction costs

  • -Initiation fee : R200
    -Per transaction : 2.75%(excl VAT)

 

To Note:

  • These devices typically work with a smartphone or tablet
  • These devices do not include the costs of data and need data to operate
  • These devices charge per transaction and the money is typically sent to the bank account you registered. Whether a personal or business one
  • Look out for devices that only take chip cards, a lot of people still don’t have chip cards

 

In a country like ours, filled with so much opportunity and so many street vendors I feel like the above offerings are extremely limited and there should be a whole lot more. Especially from banks. More and more people use their plastic money for small purchases everywhere they go and this trend does not seem likely to change.

Now, I understand there are other simpler options that make use of paying using our smartphones, but South Africa is not there yet. We still want to swipe our cards. We don’t fully trust these apps yet. And as such, vendors needs cheaper ways to take payments and keep their hustle going. If the lady at the train station selling vegetables and fruits had a device, what’s to say she would not make more sales?

I hope more banks and other development houses take notice of this gap and produce more options that are affordable. 2.75% per transaction is a bit much and it can probably be lower. The rise in blockchain technology might spur some ideas to decrease transaction fees. Only the future will tell.

And finally, if I could pick a device, I would either go with the Yoco Wireless pro of the Nedbank PocketPos. I believe these are the best from the list and if anyone has money to spare, you can send it my way and I will buy the devices and review them for you 🙂

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