26 OCTOBER 2022
Stories4 Minutes, 55 Seconds read

How Stitch works with Pay@ to increase Instant EFT conversion for real-time bill settlements

Lucille Wilcox, Content Marketing Manager

Problem: Bill and payments aggregator Pay@ aims to make it as easy as possible for South African consumers to settle their bills in real time. They were facing conversion challenges with their existing Instant EFT provider.

Stitch solution: Pay@ switched to a white-labelled version of Stitch InstantPay, which brought an improved customer experience and allowed them to retain their own branding, ensuring familiarity for their customers.

Result: Pay@ customers can now make quick, intuitive Instant EFT payments and settle their bills in real time using Stitch. Plus, Pay@ merchants are able to easily reconcile money owed to them, and have seen conversion increase substantially.

Pay@’s mission to democratise bill payments

Bill and payments aggregator Pay@ enables South African customers to pay bills securely and conveniently, boasting one of the largest retail and online networks in the country.

The company’s primary goal is to ensure, in particular, that disadvantaged groups have access to a range of payment methods that can best meet their needs – and enable them to leverage digital financial services.

Recognising the ubiquity of cash in South Africa, one of the unique value propositions for Pay@ is that they have direct integrations into the point-of-sale systems of popular retailers such as Shoprite, Pick n Pay, Pep, Massmart and Spar. This allows consumers to make cash payments in real time, either as partial or complete payments. From there, Pay@ onward settles and reconciles the transactions to the intended biller.

Pay@ Business Development Lead Clinton Leask told us, “Our mission is to make it as easy as possible for people to make payments in a simple and understandable way – no matter how they want to pay.”

By offering a single integration for their billers, Pay@ empowers merchants with access to a comprehensive payment suite – from cash to digital – removing the headache on both sides when it comes to making a payment. Whether a customer is paying for their municipal bill or a TV subscription, they’re able to do so via the payment method that works for them.

Cash remains king, but digital payments are on the rise

Today cash still remains king for many consumers Pay@ serves, and a large number of their transactions or collections are still cash-based. However, while the size of the cash market in numbers is large, digital payments are growing at a faster rate.

With innovations like Instant EFT payments, which make it easier and more accessible for those that do have access to card, for example, to pay digitally, the team hopes reliance on cash can begin to change.

One element that is critical when it comes to adoption of digital payments is ensuring a smooth, friction-free payment experience.

“[Customers] want an easier path to make a payment. That means fewer clicks and a clear, understandable process.” Unlike online shopping, consumers aren’t necessarily excited or incentivised to make bill payments as they might be to purchase a product, which means it’s even more critical for the process to be as painless as possible.

“You’ve got to make that journey as smooth as you can. We have the same problems as e-commerce when it comes to drop-off, so the fewer steps you have in place, the better it is for the consumer,” Leask said.


The role of Instant EFT in enabling the growth of digital payments

The Pay@ team recognises the growing value of Instant EFT as a digital payment method. Describing the decreasing prevalence of mechanisms like direct debit orders, Leask explains that “these days, the younger generation is not interested in debit orders because of the perception that they have less control over the payment.”

Emphasising Instant EFT’s place in the market, Leask told us it’s an integral payment instrument because of its cost-saving properties for merchants. “Card transactions are fairly complex, depending on where you are in the value chain, and the cost of performing those transactions is high.”

He adds, “Instant EFT solves these problems in that it’s easier to implement, and the costs are much lower.” Leask told us that “consumers are hesitant about doing card transactions online” due to the fear their card details might be hacked. “They have more trust in doing a Stitch payment, or Instant EFT, than a card payment. The less information they have to key in, the better.”

Staying true to their mission of making it easy for consumers to pay and for merchants to accept payments, Leask said:

“Instant EFT is what billers and consumers want. It’s definitely one of our biggest digital channels and is key to helping us achieve our business goals.”

Pay@ + Stitch collaboration

Instant EFT as a method isn’t new for Pay@, but they recently switched to Stitch from an alternative provider. “We’ve been doing Instant EFT for around four years, using another provider. But they hadn’t really done anything to improve the experience. We looked at other players in the market, but we weren’t comfortable with the way they worked or with their approach in the market.”

Since launching with Stitch, Pay@ has seen an increase in conversion rates. “Once customers get used to the new flow – which is far more intuitive,” Leask said, “the payment process is easy.” He commented:

“The Stitch team has been great in terms of engagement. We needed one or two extra things in terms of our flow, which the team accommodated us with. We’re really happy with the way things have played out working with Stitch.”

He added, “The openness from the team has been fantastic. The APIs Stitch offers are top-notch, and it was such an easy integration process.”


Looking to remove barriers for your consumers when it comes to making payments? Enjoy increased conversions and say goodbye to unnecessary drop-off with Stitch. Get in touch at sales@stitch.money or access test credentials via our self-serve platform.

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