South Africa has a robust and well-developed digital payments ecosystem, meaning they have high expectations when it comes to the availability of localized payment methods, a smooth experience and strong security.
For global businesses expanding into new markets, it can be tempting to leverage existing international payment methods to get up and running quickly. But for the business, these methods often incur high costs. And for consumers coming across the brand for the first time, such shortcuts can be obvious - limiting trust and loyalty while posing barriers to conversion or leading to cart abandonment. Just as consumer mindsets and experiences vary significantly from one market to the next, so too do payments behaviours and associated expectations. South Africa is no exception.
When it comes to the payments experience - a critical juncture for any digital conversion - providing a seamless and exceptional journey with options consumers have come to expect and understand, while assuaging any security concerns, can be critical to success.
South Africa has a robust and well-developed digital payments ecosystem, meaning they have high expectations when it comes to the availability of payment methods, a smooth experience and strong security. In particular, localization means paying attention to:
If launched properly, the payments experience in itself can quickly become an advantage for businesses in highly competitive markets.
Stitch client BusBud is a global business that entered the South African market offering a digital ticketing solution for bus travellers. However, at launch they offered only one method for accepting payments: credit and debit cards. They also charged users in USD, which made it clear that this was a foreign brand. This approach severely limited their reach and impacted trust among this user base, who were sceptical of foreign companies charging in international currencies.
Their research showed that between 20-40% of users in South Africa prefer to pay directly from their bank accounts. This was a big motivation for them to offer Instant EFT payments. When BusBud launched with Stitch they were able to significantly and instantly expand their addressable market, and start to build a loyal consumer base.