Apple Pay launched in South Africa

After months of apparent delays, Apple Pay has finally been launched in South Africa. Customers from Nedbank, Absa and Discovery Bank were on Tuesday morning able to load their bank cards into their Apple wallets.

There has been no official word yet from Apple about the launch, but Chipo Mushwana, Nedbank executive of emerging payments, confirmed the news.

“As the affinity for digital payments grows in the South African market, we strive to ensure that we continue to provide our clients with the most recent and in-demand contactless payment solutions,” Mushwana said of the launch.

Nedbank customer Lubna Patel confirmed she has been able to add the payment mechanism on her iPhone by adding a Visa card onto the Apple Wallet in less than two minutes. “I simply pressed the + button under Wallet. My card was preloaded from my information in Apple Settings. I just had to verify it.”

The verification process is by either text message or by calling Nedbank’s call centre, she said.

Surprisingly, there’s no word yet on when Apple Pay will be available to those who bank with FNB. FNB Card CEO Chris Labuschagne told TechCentral: “We’re working with Apple and look forward to bringing Apple Pay to our customers. Once available, it will be accessible at scale to nearly a million iPhone users from our six million digitally active customers.”

Covid accelerant

The launch of Apple Pay comes after Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay became available to South African consumers all the way back in 2018. In November 2020, Samsung Pay hit the three million transactions milestone in South Africa. Samsung Pay is available on more than 40 mobile devices and smartwatches from the Korean consumer electronics giant.

Contactless and mobile payment methods have soared during the Covid-19 pandemic. Mastercard conducted a survey during lockdown in South Africa and, of those who participated, 75% said they were using contactless payments due to hygiene and safety concerns. A further 64% responded that they planned to “reduce or stop using cash altogether”.

The notification that greets Nedbank customers. Image: Lubna Patel

Apple Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet first launched by the tech giant in October 2014. It allows customers to load their supported banking cards onto a virtual wallet and pay at any contactless payment terminal, online or using iOS apps.

Apple tightly controls which markets it enters, and, after originally launching in the US, it became available in the UK, Australia, Canada, Brazil and, most recently, Mexico. — © 2021 NewsCentral Media

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