Standard Bank South Africa launches contactless card payment technology

All Gold and Titanium Standard Bank-branded credit and cheque cards will now be issued with the tap-and-go payment method. This means that Standard Bank's credit card holders in South Africa will not have to swipe or insert their cards into terminals.

Standard Bank South Africa is one of the largest issuers of credit and cheque cards in South Africa.

Sugendhree Reddy, Head of Personal Markets at Standard Bank South Africa, says: "The introduction of this new payment method forms part of Standard Bank's consistent focus on providing customers with value in banking. There are evident trends internationally and locally driving consumer preference towards fast, convenient and secure payment methods.

"The new tap-and-go cards are linked to a customer's bank account, allowing for funds to be deducted directly from their account. Unlike many systems currently available, customers don't have to pre-load cards with money to use this method of payment."

The cards carry the MasterCard PayPass logo and have antennas imbedded in them. The antenna allows cardholders to pay at point-of-sale devices displaying the same PayPass logo as their card by simply tapping the card on the terminal. Holders of these credit and cheque cards do not need to give the card to the cashier, enter a PIN or sign a slip for payments under R200. To ensure security, a PIN will be required for higher amounts.

This technology is ideal for quick payment environments, such as transit, fast foods, petrol stations, supermarkets and movie theatres.

"The cards improve customer convenience, with shorter payment times, and remove the need to withdraw cash. Security is also improved as a customer keeps their card with them rather than handing it to someone else," says Ms Reddy.

The new cards will be rolled out automatically to new Standard Bank cheque and credit card customers. Current Standard Bank customers will also receive the new cards as and when their current cards are due for renewal. The annual fee for the contactless cards remains the same as for current cheque and credit cards. Paying via the tap and go method will count as an electronic transaction, the cost of which is bundled into banking packages offered by Standard Bank. The cards will also function in the usual manner by swiping or inserting. and are valid for five years.

"Standard Bank will also roll out this functionality on debit cards, and through VISA, in 2013," says Ms Reddy. "Standard Bank anticipates that the wider availability of these cards in the South African market will drive the tap and go method as a more common system of payment locally.

The rollout of the transactional cards follows Standard Bank South Africa's introduction of the Muvo transit card in eThekwini, which was piloted early this year and implemented broadly in 2012.

Commuters using People Mover and Durban Transport buses throughout eThekwini municipality in KwaZulu-Natal can use the card to pay their fare. In addition to this, the card replaces the traditional bus travel coupon which provides for preloaded and discounted trips as well as concessionary travel passes for students and pensioners. This is the only card and infrastructure system to fully comply with the requirements of the National Department of Transports public transport specifications. These cards are prefunded and reloadable, and can be used as a standard MasterCard, as well as in a contactless environment

Standard Bank South Africa has also implemented cashless payment systems at numerous festivals throughout South Africa, including the Easter Rugby festival in Gauteng and OppiKoppi in Limpopo this year. With the cashless payment system, festival-goers replaced cash with pre-loaded cards that were used via the tap and go method. In a three-second transaction, the card could be loaded by the user with money that could then be spent at the festival's food and beverage, souvenir, or ticket stalls.

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