South Africa’s forthcoming Rapid Payments Programme (RPP) is good news for merchants and consumers

Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation

South Africa’s Rapid Payments Programme (RPP) is an industry-wide collaboration intended to create a simpler, safer, and cheaper instant payment environment for all South Africans. In simple terms, it will give people the ability to make real-time payments using simple identifiers, like mobile numbers or e-mail addresses to make transacting almost instantaneous.


The project is in the implementation stage and barring unforeseen circumstances should be launched into pilot later this year. It supports the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) digital transformation journey and will enable users of the system to request payment from other users digitally in a simple and cost-effective way.


In South Africa, current estimates suggest that 53 percent of all point of sale purchases are still made in cash, while in the informal economy a staggering 89 percent of transactions are cash-based. Not only is RPP good news for underbanked consumers who still rely on cash as their primary payment method, it also modernises the industry by creating new and exciting opportunities for merchants, SMEs, and e-commerce players alike. Similar systems have been piloted and launched elsewhere across the globe with massive success. The benefits are numerous and include stimulating economies by replacing cash usage, improving overall security all whilst providing a service as quick as cash.


Here at home, arguably the biggest advantage of RPP is that it will provide a truly low-cost digital payment system for consumers. It has the potential to free South Africans from high transaction fees, waiting in long bank queues at month-end, and waiting days to receive payments. RPP will also make paying debt easier with opportunities for instant instalment payments and payment arrangements via a mobile phone number. The more options consumers have at their disposal, the healthier the entire payments ecosystem becomes for all players.


RPP will hopefully bridge several major gaps among South Africa’s diverse population, including the rural/urban divide. Ensuring unbanked or underbanked consumers are financially included will increase competition amongst financial services providers which is critical for consumers who will for the first time enjoy affordable access to convenient payment mechanisms.


Creating a cashless future means a more equal and inclusive country. PAYM8 is looking forward to the next generation of payments infrastructure, what it means for the industry, and the many new avenues for growth it represents which South Africa sorely needs.


Andrew Springate, CEO, PAYM8

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