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Beyond the Transaction: Every Transaction Has a Story

Walking the road from cash to digital acceptance

My co-founders and I founded iKhokha on the belief that enabling entrepreneurship through technology would help address some of the fundamental issues we currently face in South Africa. Hence our mission – to transform small businesses through mobile innovation.

There are now more than 2,200 merchants using our mobile commerce offering and Mobile Point of Sale devices in South Africa, and hundreds more sign up monthly.

These are innovative, dynamic companies like Natural Moisture, owned by Ruth Mafupa, who we introduced to media when we announced our collaboration with MasterCard.

By integrating MasterPass acceptance into our mobile app for iKhokha merchants, MasterCard and iKhokha have brought digital payments to South African consumers and merchants who transact face-to-face in Bed and Breakfasts, hair salons, accounting firms, gyms, and many other independent retailers around the country.

There are several reasons why this integration is locally relevant and ideal for our merchants. The increasing usage of smartphones in South Africa is one. The fact that MasterPass works with entry-level Maestro debit cards means it is the first truly inclusive digital card token in South Africa. A MasterPass mobile transaction is also bank authenticated, which removes security risks for our iKhokha merchants and for their customers.

We frequently say “if a customer wants to pay with it, our iKhokha merchants need to be able to accept it and we need to make that process simple and easy”. For that to be possible, and to make the significant impact we envision with iKhokha, we know that relationships such as the one we are building with MasterCard are key.

As payment and other mobile technology evolves, we will evolve our product line too, helping our merchants – like Ruth – walk the road from cash to card, to digital acceptance, ultimately growing the formal digital economy.

Ruth is a great example of a forward-thinking businesswoman who is taking advantage of digital tools like social media and digital payments to formalise and grow her business. Stories like hers need to be told so that other South African entrepreneurs like her have the courage to start companies of their own.

Then they too will create jobs, and share their business knowledge and experience in their communities – just as Ruth is doing.