Vodacom, part of Vodafone Group, has launched the VodaPay super app for smartphone users in South Africa. The app, which offers users access to digital financial services as well as online shopping and lifestyle tools, is backed by technology from the mobile money specialist, Alipay.
Shameel Joosub, Vodacom CEO said: “I am pleased that we are unveiling VodaPay to consumers. It is a massive achievement for the Vodacom Group as it brings us closer to achieving our vision of moving from a telco to a tech-co. As a Group, our purpose is to connect everyone for a better future, and ensure digital inclusion for customers, giving them access to smart phones and broadband connectivity across our markets. With VodaPay, we have introduced an innovative platform that is simple, accessible, cost-effective, and suitable for the banked and unbanked market, that operates outside the formal banking sector.”
How VodaPay works
The VodaPay SuperApp – available from the Android and Apple app stores – allows users to securely upload and store their money in a digital wallet within the app. VodaPay users can then use the app to make purchases, pay bills or send money without delay and without cost. Registration is fast and removes the paperwork and delays typically associated with setting up a traditional bank account in Africa.
VodaPay also allows users to add existing cards from any recognised bank in South Africa to the app and use them for payments.
VodaPay is designed to support multiple elements of a customer’s lifestyle, allowing users to shop at their favourite retailers, order food, send money and pay bills from within the app.
Shameel Joosub added: “We’ve also partnered with some of South Africa’s biggest and respected businesses to ensure that consumers using the VodaPay super-app are spoiled for choice when it comes to making buying decisions.”
Driving financial inclusion in Africa
Financial inclusion – ensuring everyone has access to financial services – is a key driver in reducing poverty and increasing growth in low- and middle- income countries around the world. But approximately 1.7 billion people globally still have no access to basic banking facilities.
Vodafone is committed to driving financial inclusion through our products and services. In Kenya, for example, the availability of platforms like M-PESA have helped drive an increase in access to financial services by around 56% since 2006.[i]
Vodacom has made VodaPay available to customers on any mobile network. The app is zero-rated for Vodacom customers, meaning they will not be charged for any data used when browsing or making transactions. This offer will be extended to users on other mobile networks in the near future.
Mariam Cassim, Chief Executive Officer of Vodacom Financial and Digital Services said: “What we have delivered in VodaPay is a first of its kind super-app underpinned by world class technology that will help us to make digital and financial inclusion a reality.”
Digital financial services became even more important for consumers and business in Africa during the pandemic. M-PESA, which operates in Kenya, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Ghana and Egypt, saw the number of transactions made on the platform grow to 4.5 billion in the first quarter of 2021 – around €63 billion worth of transactions in total.
The launch of VodaPay will expand the reach of digital financial services in Africa, and builds on the success of M-PESA, the mobile money platform launched by Vodafone and Safaricom in 2007, which has more than 50 million active users and has made a significant contribution to the growth of financial inclusion across the continent.
[i] Central Bank of Kenya, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and Financial Services Department of Kenya, 2019, 2019 FinAccess household survey. Available online here: https://www.centralbank.go.ke/uploads/financial_inclusion/2050404730_FinAccess%202019%20Household%20Survey-%20Jun.%2014%20Version.pdf
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