22 April 2021
The growth of the digital payments ecosystem in South Africa
The growth of the digital payments ecosystem in South Africa

Donn Engelbrecht, Managing Director at African Resonance Business Solutions explores the cornerstone of the new digital economy

The payments ecosystem has been characterised by constant change and more recently we have seen unprecedented levels of convergence of payment streams. It is best described as an ongoing strategy to digitalise the payments landscape by making it more accessible and providing innovative solutions. Thanks to technology advancements, ongoing innovation, and changing consumer expectations, this sector has seen enormous growth, not to mention the recent pandemic being a major catalyst.

There isn’t an economy around the world – both developed and emerging, that doesn’t revolve around a payments ecosystem, and South Africa is no different.  Now, more than ever, the expectations are growing for integrated and secure ways to pay for any product or service, by both consumers and businesses alike.

Greater digital adoption

Although barriers exist, such as infrastructural costs, interoperability, regulation, and industry compliance – there is so much potential. Today, cash payments still represent between 75% - 80% of all transactions. As the payments landscape continues to evolve and takes its place as the cornerstone in the new digital economy new service providers and payment innovators are emerging.  

At African Resonance we’re clear about our strategy and we are constantly investing in technologies that make us unique and competitive. We know that digital and contactless payments around the world will continue to increase, and more and more we are seeing growth in the use of social media platforms for online retail and online payment platforms. It is evident that even post lockdown restrictions, consumers continue to shop online. 

Mega trends and disruptive solutions

Other disruptive solutions emerging include tap and go payments which are popular as a means to maintaining social distancing. This is also preferable for consumers for many other reasons such as convenience and security.

Wearable payment devices are on the rise; with the integration into Point-of-Sale (“POS”) terminals. According to a report by Allied Market Research1, the wearable payments market is anticipated to reach $1.37 Trillion by 2027.

Also worth mentioning are QR codes. These ‘Quick Response’ codes are two-dimensional black and white squares that can be read by smartphone cameras, POS terminals or other devices. Although not new, QR codes are growing in popularity as they are easy to use and inexpensive to implement by businesses.


EMV (originally stood for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa), which is now managed by EMVCo, a global body that facilitates worldwide interoperability and acceptance of secure payment transactions.  EMVCo has focused on creating a QR Code payment specification, which intends to enable collaboration with industry participants and reflect the requirements of actors across the payments ecosystem.

An excerpt from a Deloitte report2 on the subject reads, “developing strategies with foresight and agility is difficult in itself but can be acutely challenging in an age of disruption and a constantly evolving payments landscape. To overcome this, companies will first need to understand their roles in the payments value chain, and then envision how these will evolve with technological innovation in the future.”

Our clients

We are viewed as a ‘Business partner’ with whom our clients share and explore new products, solutions and embrace new technologies.  We’re adding value to their business operations and in doing so, we reduce the lead-time for new products and solutions introduced to the market so that our customers remain relevant in this rapidly changing ecosystem.


  1. https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/press-release/wearable-payment-market.html#:~:text=According%20to%20a%20recent%20report,is%20projected%20to%20reach%20%241.37
  2. Page 10: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/sg/Documents/financial-services/sg-fsi-future-of-digital-payments.pdf
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