Contactless Payments, the Future of African Micro-Payments

Author Picture
Craig Leppan
Man accepting contactless payment on his android device

While cash was always considered to be king, that is no longer the case with consumers across Africa moving to alternative payment methods for convenience and safety reasons. Tap to pay has emerged as one such option. It uses short-range wireless technology to make secure payments between a contactless chip card or device and a checkout terminal.

Craig Leppan, Head of Business Development at Halo Dot, believes that the ubiquity of mobile phones in Africa will quickly see the concept of tap-on-phone dominating micro-transactions and replace the need for consumers to carry cash with them.

“Tap payments have become increasingly common but this has predominantly focused on cards and traditional terminals. But innovative technology such as Halo Dot, that allows merchants to accept payments on their phones to process a contactless payment, will positively disrupt the market.

This will enable informal retailers, spaza stores, and street vendors to accept a safer alternative to cash and give them the opportunity to accept card transactions. They no longer need to be concerned by the cost of Point of Sale (POS) devices and the maintenance that can come with it."

“Another benefit of this form of contactless payment has emerged in the wake of the pandemic where people want to avoid physical interactions wherever possible. This is especially the case when it comes to POS devices and cards that see numerous people handle them throughout the day,” he says.

Concerns around the security of contactless technology are unfounded as VISA and Mastercard have driven global compliance to ensure systems are as safe as possible. Technology like Halo Dot creates a secure sandbox on a phone that even the merchant accepting the payment cannot access. Their phone merely becomes the facilitator to process payments in real-time.

“Halo Dot is therefore not a typical Android app but one that has completed the most rigorous security standards and incorporates advanced safety protocols to keep data private. With this technology, we are essentially transforming every mobile device into a POS device. Halo Dot represents a massive shift in the tap to pay market as it now enables traders in the most rural of areas to accept card or phone payments from their customers. There is no longer the need to worry about change or have a customer try and find an ATM to draw the money required for a micro-transaction,” says Leppan.

Ultimately, Halo Dot is democratising POS payments and creating limitless opportunities for consumer to transact and merchants to sell goods and services.

“With Halo Dot technology, every person can now become a merchant without dealing with unnecessary POS device costs. They simply use their existing mobile device.Just consider the potential for rural markets and traders when tourists visit and can simply tap to pay on their mobile devices. The boost to the township economy will be significant creating many opportunities for growth,” he concludes.