Kathy Gibson reports – Vodacom is calling on merchants and developers to join its VodaPay platform.

Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom, describes the VodaPay platform as a super-app offering a range of shopping and payment services made possible by the agreement signed last year with China’s AliPay.

“This is part of our investment into financial and digital lifestyle services, and enhancing our relationships with customers across Africa.”

He says the creation of VodaPay is key as Vodacom transitions from a tradition telco to a digital services company.

Already, close to half of Vodacom’s customers – about 58-million people – make use of the organisation’s financial services, with about 14-million of them in South Africa.

“The next phase is to onboard merchants and developers on to the platform, through mini programs,” Joosub says.

“The VodaPay super-app is a one-stop super-mall and, to provide this experience, we need merchants to partner with us.”

A number of merchants have already signed up, including retailers like Makro, Clicks, Edgard, Game and Exclusive Books, Joosub adds.

The creation of the AliPay platform has already been responsible for about 350 new jobs, and Joosub believes it has a role to play to contributing to unemployment.

Mariam Cassim,  chief officer of Vodacom Financial and Digital Services, adds: “A super-app is given life by the hundreds or thousands of merchants that join the ecosystem. We have spent months engaging parties and already about 70 business have signed up, and committed to building mini-apps.”

The VodaPay platform provides a wealth of services including analytics and articifical intelligence for merchants, and bridging finance for customers.

“The range of capabilities that this platform offers surpasses anything we have seen before, plus we are able to provide innovative digital financial solutions.

“We are calling on merchants and developers from all sectors to come on board and become part of the next generation of commerce.”

Vodacom Financial Services has fully integrated the Mini Program technology into the South African payment environment to ensure interoperability within the local market. VodaPay provides the infrastructure on which merchants and consumers transact, managing all the login, authorisation and payments processing aspects of their transactions. Businesses also have access to next-gen recommendation engines and data analytics to deliver personalised offers to customers as well as simplified checkout options, and advertising capabilities to drive sales.

The VodaPay Super App offers consumers a single point of entry and payment platform, with no additional download required. Mini Programs can accept both physical and online payments from customers with the in-app VodaPay digital wallet.  A choice is available for customers of paying upfront, with rewards, or with payment terms such as buy-now-pay-later and nano credit offerings.

The multitude of smaller applications within the VodaPay Super App brings diversity to the Mini Program offering and increases opportunities for creative start-ups and developers. As there is a single ecosystem on which to build applications, developers only need to manage one code base for both iOS and Android devices while benefiting from the exceptional tools, services and support from VodaPay’s technology. This reduces the time, costs and administration when submitting apps for approval and results in faster development cycles speeding up access to market,” adds Cassim.

“The adoption of digital technology is critical for businesses if they are to respond to change quickly and remain relevant in these uncertain times. VodaPay Mini Programs can accelerate the digital engagement of a business in a cost-effective manner, expanding the possibility of financial inclusion. As we position ourselves as a leading pan-African technology company, we are excited to see the innovation from businesses and developers who will partner with us in using this technology to connect people to markets, and to build and support a resilient, dynamic, digital economy,” says Joosub.